Author: Lisa Graas
•3/20/2003 10:07:00 AM
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Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

I think it is interesting that Jesus used the name "Lazarus" for the parable of the rich man and the poor man. At the end of the story, the rich man is told by God that even if someone were raised from the dead, people would not believe. And yet Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead. Will you believe?

The name of the town where Lazarus was raised from the dead is called Bethany which means "house of dates". I know this because I researched names when I was naming my youngest daughter and I chose the name Bethany because of the problems in my marriage. Bethany can also mean "to plant on new and fertile soil". You see, when an attacking army would come into a city to overtake it, one of the first things they would do would be to burn the vegetation so the people would starve. This was a bad thing, to be sure, but after the harsh time of starvation, the soil would be more fertile for growing new trees. I saw my pregnancy as a chance to plant on new soil in more ways than one.

Throughout the readings today, we have references to hope in suffering. A man who hopes in the Lord is like a tree who, in years of drought , shows no distress but bears fruit. Those who are not spiritiually prepared for hard times will have trouble hoping in the Lord when the armies come in and burn all of their date trees. He who is spiritually prepared knows that the burning will leave the soil more fertile. It is an opportunity to start again! To plant on new soil! It is a time to experience hope to its fullest degree for how can one know hope without experiencing suffering?

Lazarus was raised from the dead. Will you believe? Will you see your sufferings as an opportunity to experience hope in the Lord? Or will you have spiritual starvation? Will you be consumed spiritually by the fires of the enemy? Or will you show no distress and bear fruit in the new, fertile soil?

Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

God bless you all.

Love from Lisa
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