I start thinking about him as Easter approaches. My soul remembers praying deep and wide for him. But it seemed to no avail as die anyway he did. A pastor? I thought... what hope could I have if You'll kill off a pastor? None, I concluded. For I have a bit part in this grand story, so surely if prayer doesn't work for a pastor then it won't work for little ol' me.
My heart was groaning deep pain. Soul pain. I was a Mary waiting outside a tomb for a Lazarus to come, but flinching deep expecting a zombie.
At last years' Good Friday service his widow spoke. Breaking open soul-scabs. It seemed an infection of doubt had festered there and when it was broke open doubt-sin spilled out. Do you believe me? He asked deep. Down into the pain He spoke and waited for an answer. I twirled my hair and skipped away from the moment.
There he stood in our kitchen, a boy stretching high like a tree. 'Do you remember me?' he asked Kaiya and she nodded vigorously. Of course tree child, we remember you, for we labored in prayer for you after the wreck. A horrid one that nearly killed him. Nearly. But there he was, talking to my daughter in my kitchen. Brought through the fire by not one but two firemen sent by You to rescue him.
You rescue some from the fire entirely. What if a drunk driver was bound for me but he couldn't find his keys and lay in a stupor in a ditch somewhere? Do we have any idea how many times a day You save us?
Others You rescue through the fire. Burned a bit they might be, but alive nonetheless. Like the boy in a terrible wreck that he should not of survived. Only because two men trained to snatch souls away from death were driving by, ready to help.
Lastly You rescue some by the fire. A fire ride sent to bring home Your dearest and brightest. Like a candle flickering out, some expected and others not, that final snuff always startles somewhat. Done. Dead.
The middle one is the one we should stand up and cheer. Just go bananas over. He did it! Like with the original three who were miraculously brought through the fire, and in such a way they didn't even get burned. Can you imagine the block party they had that night? Did they have a big bonfire just for grins? Hey Shack. Hey Benny. Check out the fire dude, man, can you get over how awesome that was today? No dude, that blew my mind.
There standing in front of me is my Lazarus. And I didn't quite celebrate it enough. There are some He brings through. Through cancer. My mother is here this year, and the cancer is gone. Every now and then we have a mini Easter down here. A preview of the great resurrection that is to come. A reminder of the one that already came. He whispers down to our infected souls: I am making everything new.
He calls us to come forth. Out of the fires we are in. Little or big, we aren't meant to stay in them, and the miracle comes in the coming out of it. Our response should be one of thankful praise. That He is so very good. For just like with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego He is there with us by our side in the fire.