This spring has brought me to the end of myself in so many ways. My book launch was exciting and amazing, but also intimidating. It’s hard to put yourself out there for people to judge! Then there was the general busyness of the end of school, compounded by a high-school graduation and an eighth-grade promotion. So many milestones, each of which had to be properly celebrated and mourned. As it turned out, I was also battling a vitamin deficiency that was making me more tired and fragile than usual. No wonder I wasn’t feeling quite myself.
So when our pastor said as a side note to a sermon on John 12 that Lazarus was a silent witness to Jesus’ power just be being there, I thought, that’s it! That’s where I am right now. I am weak and weary, and these days it takes everything I have just to show up.
Fortunately, sometimes just showing up is enough.
There are times when we can be like Mary, who anointed Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. Times when we are so filled with love for Jesus that we overflow in sacrifice and devotion. Times when we give sacrificially of our resources and our reputation to show our love. That is all noble and wonderful and satisfying, and it pleases God and draws people to him.
But sometimes we are more like Lazarus. All the passage says about him is that he was reclining with Jesus at the table, and yet the crowds came to see him. He drew a crowd just by sitting there; his presence was enough. They came not because of anything Lazarus had said or done, but because of what Jesus had done in Lazarus’s life. In fact, all we are told about Lazarus is that he was a friend of Jesus and he died after a brief illness. But that was enough. Jesus used him to reveal his resurrection power when he called him out of the tomb.
That’s what Jesus does for us, too. He calls us out of death and into life, out of darkness and into life, out of stagnation and into purpose and joy. And just like Lazarus, it isn’t about anything we did. We can’t call forth life in ourselves—we are dead in sin, and Jesus is the only one who can breathe life into our old bones.
If you belong to Jesus, you have a story to tell about his power. He has shown up in your life, and now you can honor him just by showing up for someone else. Maybe that means summoning your energy to go to church in the midst of chemo or depression or a devastating personal tragedy. Your presence there will encourage someone else--and you! Maybe that means sitting with someone who is suffering—comforting them with the comfort you have received from God. Maybe it means making a phone call or a batch of cookies or taking the kids to the park. Or maybe it means facing down the blank page and blinking cursor to write.
I don’t know where you are right now, but if you’re feeling empty and at the end of yourself, know that you can still testify to Jesus’ power. Just by lacing up your shoes and showing up.
Isn’t that great news? If it takes all you have just to show up today, that’s enough. Jesus can use your silent presence to draw others to himself.
You want to know what made me finally write this blog post that’s been on my mind for a few weeks—what gave me the courage to show up? Someone I’ve never met who read my book wrote me a little note of encouragement. Isn’t that sweet? She showed up for me, and now I’m showing up for you. Whom will you show up for?