What if there is life, here and now, and beyond?

Sometimes, college can be pretty busy and uncertain. I know that as I was settling in and finding my feet during the first semester, I had so many questions. These questions ranged from, “Can I eat pasta everyday… or should I maybe make something more nutritious?” to “How do I actually use the Luas?” to “Am I really in the right place here?” Our generation has so many options that sometimes it can actually be overwhelming to know what the right choice is. We often have questions and doubts.

The theme of our CU Events week has been “What If…?” and I wonder if you have some “What If…?” questions of your own? Perhaps they could be:

“What if I picked the wrong course?”
“What if I don’t pass this year?”

“What if I could have tried harder to fix that friendship/relationship? 

Or maybe you have other questions, and you keep repeating, “What if… what if… what if…

Well, I know a God who silences those “What If” questions with a statement that overshadows them all:

“You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?”
John 11:25-26, MSG

What if there is another way to live that means that we can have freedom from our doubts and fears? Though we may have so many “What If” questions, and wonder if our life could have went differently if we’d made different choices, I believe in a God who meets us right where we’re at and tells us that we can have a full life now and forever. 

I believe in a God who meets us right where we’re at and tells us that we can have a full life now and forever.

The story I’m about to talk about is one of my favourites from the Bible. It’s taken from a book called John, Chapter 11 (verses 1-44). You can read it here! 

In summary, Jesus gets a message that one of his close friends, Lazarus, is ill and that Lazarus’ sisters (Mary and Martha) want Jesus to come and help. They live in a place called Judea and Jesus would have to travel for a few days to get there. However, Jesus strangely tells His disciples that He wants to wait for two days before leaving for Judea. By the time they arrive, Lazarus has been dead for four days already!

When Martha sees Jesus, she says that her brother wouldn’t have died if Jesus had been there. Jesus replies with the bold and amazing statement:

“I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

Martha says that she does believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God. 

When Jesus enters the village, He sees all the people mourning and consoling Mary and Martha, and He is deeply moved; the Bible even tells us that Jesus wept. It tells us that Jesus was “angry as he arrived at the tomb.” He asks for the stone rolled in front of the grave to be removed, and when this happens He looks into the sky and thanks God that He heard Him. Jesus says that He did this for the benefit of the people standing here, so that they may believe the Father sent Him. Then He proclaims the mighty words, “Unwrap him and let him go!” We aren’t told exactly what happens next, but I can only imagine that a party that was thrown!

Why am I telling this story? Well I guess it’s because this is the same Jesus who has changed my life and showed me that despite my “what ifs,” He gives hope for both the everyday and for the future, and I know that someday all my questions will be answered. But how does believing in Jesus help to answer our “what if” questions and help us to see that there is something beyond this life? 

1. What if there is a God who sees the details?

As you can see from this story, Jesus tells His disciples that He wants to leave it a couple of days before visiting His friend, who is very ill. Although we sometimes can’t understand why things happen in this world, this passage shows us that Jesus wanted to “bring glory” to God by performing a massive miracle. Although it didn’t make sense to the human mind, Jesus knew what He was doing. There may be things in life that are confusing you at the minute, but I have faith that God knows what He is doing even when I cannot see, and therefore I know that the “what ifs” aren’t what define me.

2. What if there is a God who cares about my pain?

The passage tells us that Jesus was actually angered over Lazarus’ death and the mourning it caused. Sometimes we forget this extremely passionate side of Jesus, but the fact that death even existed stirred something up in Him which was displayed to those He encountered that day.

As the “Resurrection and the Life,” it is clear that Jesus flipped the world upside down by defeating death.

As well as this, we see that “Jesus wept” when he saw the grave. It seems strange that Jesus would weep when He knew that He was about to raise Lazarus to life again.

However, I find it a great comfort knowing that when we feel pain, God feels our pain too. Sometimes we can’t understand why bad things happen, but I take comfort in believing in a God who weeps for and with me, and you can too.

3. What if there is freedom from my fears?

With the words, “Unwrap him and let him go!” we can almost tangibly feel the immense freedom that there must have been that day.

I believe that, just like Lazarus, we can walk free from our grave as well – both in this life and forever.

What if there is life?
I believe in the God who raised Lazarus.

What if there is life, here and now?
I believe that God cares about your present.

What if there is life, both here and now – and beyond?
I believe that God can give you a future free of fear.

These songs kind of summarise what I’ve been trying to say in this post:
You Came
Glorious Day

Written by Anna, Junior Fresh, Music education.