Written by John Miltenberger
Now all wept and mourned for her; but He said, “Do not weep; she is not dead, but sleeping.”
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[Luke 8:52 NKJV]
I awoke this morning at 0234 hours, and realized it was time for prayer. I’ve learned not to fight prayer in order to resume sleep but rather, to pray first, and let sleep come when it’s ready.
I glanced out a window on my way to prayer and saw a tundra-like snowscape, cold, lifeless and forbidding. More snow is forecast for the next two days, and at first I groaned within, for I see snow as a hindrance, an obstacle to be endured. At that moment, God spoke to my mind and told me what I perceived as a cold, frozen death, was instead the fertilizer for new life due to soon spring forth in these mountains; it was beautiful in hope, and alive with His promise.
As I prayed, I placed words to what I had heard in my mind, and I remembered the little dead girl that Jesus raised to life in Luke 8. To her parents and the other onlookers, the little girl was indeed dead, and they knew well in those days the visage of death, and yet to Jesus the little girl was not “dead, but sleeping”, for all are alive to Him.
I was also reminded of how the disciples slept in Gethsemane while Jesus prayed away His last few hours before the crucifixion, and how He finished His prayers and awoke them.
Like the disciples, the Church sleeps, and like the tundra-like landscape I saw this morning, She’s blanketed by what appears to be a cold death – but not for long. She may appear dead, but She’s only dormant; She may appear to have been made impotent by ever increasing lifeless circumstances, but She’s only sleeping – and Jesus will again wake Her up and say, “Arise, for the hour has come.”
Jesus is the author of life, and from His life He brought forth creation to live in His sight, but like the frozen coldness of Narnia, His creation sleeps until He comes again to warm cold hearts. And like Narnia, all will be made alive with His presence, for without His presence there can be no life; with His presence there can be no death.
Awake Church! Arise, for Your King is coming. The coldness of death will be for You the fertilizer of new life, and as the Spring is coming to these cold mountains, the Creator is drawing closer to His creation. He knows His Church is not dead, but sleeping.
Soon the earth will be covered with life in abundance, rather than snow. The flowers will appear and a new generation of animals will come forth. The days of frozen tundra will soon be forgotten in the warmth of the sun, and vegetation will push through the softened soil, soil softened by the hardness of the ice that preceded it.
There is nothing dead in His presence. Choose life.