If you had been here…It’s the cry of believers everywhere – a cry that echoes through time since the beginning. It echoes down the shiny tiled corridors of the hospital, around the empty chair at the dinner table and amongst beautiful bouquets around the grave site. It never ceases – that soul- wrenching cry of those who wait for His appearing, when time is of the essence and quickly running out.
We want to see Lazarus raised, we want to see the leper healed, the body touched and instantly cured. We want to see the man on the mat get up and walk. We don’t have the faith it takes to give our loved ones into the hand of God, should He require it, like Abraham. We hide our Isaac, that thing that we are clinging to, because we can’t bear the thought of surrender. We can sing, “I love You more than life,” but whose life? Ours? Certainy. What about our children, our spouse, our parents? We are not sure.
Will we – can we – say to Jesus, you can have all that I have? Paul said, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8). What a pretty word picture – how it touches our hearts and moves us. What things were these things that Paul “counted as loss?” The text directly proceeding tells the context; he was a super-Jew. He gives his “pedigree.” He was a Pharisee, circumcised on the eighth day, of the tribe of Benjamin, a “Hebrew of Hebrews.”
Although these are the only “things” he mentions prior to verse 7, he goes on to say he has “lost all things [and] …consider[s] them garbage.” We have a long way to go on this road, and many losses to come, as we know. We surely will not consider them garbage, but lose them we will, to our sorrow, going on with broken hearts until our days are done. Jesus says we will regain all that has been lost and more.
Our God made us tender hearted. He gave us the people in our lives as gifts to enjoy for awhile, and then He will need them back. And as the sound of our lament echoes away into silence, He is listening. Why does He delay? Sometimes, we know not why. But in the hard places of life…
”He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).