Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” (John 11:39)
It just does. The smell is irrepressible and universally offensive.
We have some mice in our house, in our walls, that have died, and they offend our senses when we pass the place where they are decomposing. I wish I could remove them, but I would have to drill a hole in the walls to take them out, and so, instead I just wait for the natural process to complete itself, but in the meantime, we all suffer.
It is true in all of life, that death stinks and until it is rooted out, we all suffer.
There are places in my heart where things are not filled with life. I know them; they seem easier to keep than to dig up, but they cause little growth for me or my family.
I have suffered much of my life with comparision. It started for me being one of two girls in the family, and somehow being the less fair, less witty, less adorable, less sweet made me the one that was ultimately less in our family system.
I have spent much of my life trying to close this gap, but no longer with my sister and in my mother’s eyes, rather with many many women along the way. If I could convince one other person I was as good as them or even better, maybe I would finally feel the equality settled and know that, I too, was worth something.
This never worked for me. In fact, it often worked against me. And, it wasn’t until I had a daughter of my own that I realized I did not want this infection growing into the next generation of women in my family. I wanted the death to be gone.
Where Jesus asked the stone to be rolled away to bring his resurrecting life to Lazarus, Jesus asks me to roll away the stones of areas I have hidden the scent of death and to allow his light to bring new life.
I began to roll away the stone of my hardened and bitter heart, years of feeling rejected and alone, and Jesus filled those empty, dry, and dead places with his incredible life, vivacious and green.
What joy, to have this fresh fragrant life available everyday, if only I will let Jesus have the stones rolled away. In this, life is infused into my heart and into everyone I touch throughout the day. Life and not death. What a find.