Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Cat is Out Of the Bag


While going through some of my childhood possessions, I came across something which took on a profound meaning to me: a kitten poster.

This was the first poster I got as a six year old. I immediately was captivated by it because of its cute factor. A small kitten, hiding in a paper bag? What’s not to love?

You know, the phrase, “the cat is out of the bag?” Well, I couldn’t deny that ditty followed me throughout my life, eating disorder shenanigans and, of course, my disclosure of and recovery from them. After all, within my book, “Thin Enough,” I wrote a poem starting the chapter on disclosure, entitled, “The Cat is Out of the Bag.”

Disclosure- it is intimidating.

Yet, sooner or later, in our lives, the cat does, indeed, get out of the bag. We hope, then, it is in a safe, loving and kind atmosphere.

Mercifully, the first significant person I voluntarily disclosed my eating disorder truth to was my wonderful husband, Russell.

He is “Exhibit A” of the ideal safe person to reveal one’s struggle.

 “... I had managed to make it through my college years without telling anyone... I was pursuing a theatre degree... It was through theatre that I met Russell...

... The prospect of someone being close enough to truly know me was scary... Moving from dating to engagement was difficult... I had yet to tell him any of what I’d experienced...  As we prepared for our wedding, I finally mentioned to him that I had a secret I wasn’t ready to share with him yet... He told me that he loved me and that it didn’t matter what it was. He didn’t pressure me to tell him. He knew there was a secret and left it at that...

...The time for truth came a couple of weeks after we were married. It was our first Thanksgiving together... We both ate our holiday feast, and I had tried not to think about all of the calories... I proceeded to exercise after the meal, trying to burn off ‘the damage.’ Russell thought this was strange and unnecessary... He told me to just relax and enjoy the day. I, of course, repeatedly told him that I couldn’t until I’d exercised. The conversation continued while I was on the stair stepper for two hours...   I was so tired of keeping this secret... The only way I could explain it was to tell him the whole story from the beginning... And so I did.

And the worst didn’t happen. He didn’t leave me, throw me out in the street, call me worthless and tell me how much he hated me. No. He looked at me, asked me, ‘This is the big secret?’ He hugged me, told me he loved me, and told me I was beautiful. I didn’t have to lie, hide, and pretend anymore in front of the man I loved...”

(Excerpt taken from Cruse’s book, “Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder”)

For those of us struggling with addiction, disorder and compulsion, there is a disclosure moment of truth. We need to share our reality with another. It may be for a variety of reasons: to seek help and start the recovery process, to apologize for the wrongdoing and hurt we’ve caused, to reach a new level of intimacy as a significant relationship changes.

Regardless, disclosure is an important matter.

I know that, in my own situation with Russell, this was the spark which ignited John 8:32: “The truth shall set you free.”

And there is freedom within disclosure. The imprisoning secret is shattered. Its power over our lives is destroyed.

Still, with that being said, we need to, as much as possible, be thoughtful, wise and prepared when it comes to this life-altering decision. It can be damaging to reveal this most personal information to the wrong person. Therefore, we need to use discernment and prayer when we reveal ourselves- ugly truth and all- to someone.  

Some helpful question to ask include...

What are the actions this person has displayed which exemplify trustworthiness?

What are the risks of having this person know this situation?

What are the benefits of having this person know this situation?

What are the disadvantages of having this person know this situation?

I do believe, no matter how imperfect the disclosure context may be, it is worth it. “Letting the cat out of the bag” opened up everything in my life: my faith, my marriage, my creativity and my health. It was the first domino to fall when I spoke my truth.

Let’s briefly revisit the kitten poster again. Because, there is something else within the image, something which can encourage and empower us. It is the fearful kitten itself.

That is something which cannot be overlooked, especially as we face our own disclosure situations; we will be afraid. We may be terrified. We may feel, like this kitten, that we are “halfway in, halfway out” of the bag.

Therefore, above all else, in our disclosure moment, we need to remember we are not alone...

“Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

Disclosure is necessary for life, for healing and for our recovery. It is vital to reach our next level. And its rewards can be astounding.

So, is it time to let your cat out of the bag?

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse


What People Say About Me...

Eating You Up

Your Life, Your Right...

About the Current Ridiculousness...

Airbrush Sm-Airbrush


Airbrushing is an all too common technique used in the fashion and beauty industries. In our current cultural landscape, you and I would be hard pressed to find a magazine cover which is not “retouched” in some way.

In 2003, actress Kate Winslet was quite vocal about her airbrushed body. She speaks of her experience with “GQ Magazine,” along with their choice to feature her manipulated image on its cover...

"The retouching is excessive. I do not look like that and more importantly I don't desire to look like that. I can tell you they've reduced the size of my legs by about a third."

And, years later, in 2012, actress, Cate Blanchett took it one step further. She appeared on the cover of "Intelligent Life Magazine,” with her un-airbrushed face.

Whether it’s a tinier waist, thinner thighs, larger breasts or a wrinkle-free face, the beauty/media image dictates the human form must be enhanced or altered in order to be aesthetically pleasing and promote sales.

I’m a big supporter of airbrushing advisories, like the stickers used on recording artists’ albums containing more adult material.

 If airbrushing continues, if, according to the fashion or advertising world, it’s a “necessary evil,” then let’s be straight about it. Let’s be honest about what’s really going on. Otherwise, it’s openly selling a lie and creating an environment for further eating disorder and body image issues to occur.

Regardless of what does or doesn’t happen in the advertising, fashion and beauty industries, let’s remember to counteract the negative images and messages ourselves.

Dr. Nicole Hawkins, in the article, “Battling Our Bodies? Understanding and Overcoming Negative Body Images,” gives us all some helpful tools to do just that:

Seven Ways to Overcome Negative Body Image

1. Fight "Fatism": Work on accepting people of all sizes and shapes. This will help you appreciate your own body. It may be useful to create a list of people who you admire that do not have "perfect" bodies, does their appearance affect how you feel about them? It is also important to remember that society's standards have changed significantly over the last 50 years. The women that were considered the "ideal beauties" in the 1940's and 1950's like Marilyn Monroe (size 14) and Mae West were full-bodied and truly beautiful women, but they would be considered "overweight" by today's standards.

2. Fight the Diet Downfall: Ninety percent of all women have dieted at some point in their life, and at any one point in time, 50% of women are dieting. Women are two times more likely to diet than men. To dieters' dismay, 98% of all dieters gain the weight back in five years. Studies also show that 20-25% of dieters progress to a partial or full-blown eating disorder. Women are foolish if they believe that dieting will make them feel better about themselves. Dieting only helps you lose your self-esteem and energy. Dieting also creates mood swings and feelings of hopelessness. If you feel pressure to lose weight, talk to a friend or loved one or seek professional help.

3. Accept Genetics: It is critical to remember that many aspects of your body cannot be changed. Genetics does play a role in your body and at least 25% to 70% of your body is determined by your genes. While there are many aspects of our bodies we cannot change, you can change or modify your beliefs and attitudes which influence the way you feel about yourself. Change starts with you, it is internal and it starts with self-respect and a positive attitude. It is import to focus on health and not size.

4. Understand that Emotions are Skin Deep: It is important to discover the emotions and feelings that underlie your negative body image. The statement "I feel fat" is never really about fat, even if you are overweight. Each time a women looks at herself in the mirror and says "Gross, I'm fat and disgusting," she is really saying "There is something wrong with me or with what I'm feeling." When we do not know how to deal with our feelings we turn to our bodies and blame our bodies for our feelings. Every time you say "I'm fat" you are betraying your body, and you are betraying and ignoring your underlying feelings. Remember that "fat" is never a feeling, it's avoidance of feelings. Learn to discover your emotions and feelings and realize that focusing on your body is only distracting you from what is "really" bothering you.

5. Question Messages Portrayed in the Media: The media sends powerful messages to girls and women about the acceptability (or unacceptability) of their bodies. Young girls are thought to compare themselves to women portrayed as successful in the media, assessing how closely they match up to the "ideal" body form. Unfortunately, the majority of girls and women (96%) do not match up to the models and actresses presented in the media. The average model is 5'10" and weighs 110 pounds, whereas the average women is 5'4" and weighs 142 pounds. This is the largest discrepancy that has ever existed between women and the cultural ideal. This discrepancy leads many women and girls to feel inadequate and negative about their bodies. It is important to realize that only 4% of women genetically have the "ideal" body currently presented in the media, the other 96% of women feel they must go to extreme measures to attempt to reach this unobtainable image. Many of the images presented in the media have been computer enhanced and airbrushed. The models' hips and waists have often been slimmed and their breasts enlarged through computer photo manipulation. Many of the women presented in the media suffer from an eating disorder or have adopted disordered eating behaviors to maintain such low body weights. It is important to start to question images in the media and question why women should feel compelled to "live up" to these unrealistic standards of beauty and thinness.

6. Recognize the Influence of Body Misperception: Women are prone to more negative feelings about their bodies than men. In general, women are more psychologically invested in their physical appearance. Your body image is central to how you feel about yourself. Research reveals that as much as 1/4 of your self-esteem is the result of how positive or negative your body image is. Unfortunately, many women with eating disorders have a larger percentage of their esteem invested in their bodies. Women with eating disorders often exhibit unequivocal body image misperception, in which they misperceive the size of part, or the entire body. Hence they are "blind" to their own figures. This distortion is real and it is not due to "fat," but to the eating disorder illness. It is important to recognize this misperception and attribute it to the eating disorder. When you feel fat, remind yourself that you misperceive your shape. Judge your size according the opinions of trusted others until you can trust your new and more accurate self-perceptions.

7. Befriend Your Body: It is important to combat negative body image because it can lead to depression, shyness, social anxiety and self-consciousness in intimate relationships. Negative body image can also lead to an eating disorder. It is time that women stop judging their bodies harshly and learn to appreciate their inner being, soul, and spirit. A women's body is a biological masterpiece; women can menstruate, ovulate and create life. Start to recognize you do not have to compare yourself to other women or women in the media. Begin to challenge images presented in the media and realize that your worth does not depend on how closely you fit these unrealistic images.

And spiritually, it would do us all a world of good to remember a powerful Truth: our Creator sees us differently than we see ourselves and each other.

“And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good...”

Genesis 1:31

“Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.”

The Song of Solomon 4:7

It’s another reality check; that is our true image. It requires no airbrushing whatsoever.

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse


“Stay Out of It”

One of my favorite television series, “Mad Men” offers up a scene in which one ad mad conveys this message to another character:

“Stay out of it.”

Hmmm. Sometimes, that is sometimes spot-on spiritual advice, isn’t it?

Meddling or helping- which one is it each of us are doing at any given time?

This becomes an especially valid question concerning our own self-interest. And, c’mon, be honest, most of us are EXTREMELY self-interested.

The entertainer, RuPaul states it this way:

“Someone else’s opinion of me is none of my business.”

This quote can be an incredible lifeline in the context of people pleasing, versus effective recovery and a purposeful life.

Yes, in an ideal world, everyone would love us, think highly of us and have nothing but the best things to say about us. But, do we live in an ideal world?

So, there will be chatterboxes, gossips, critics and even enemies out there. And guess what they’ll all come armed with? Offenses.

“Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”

Yep, those critters often don’t feel great to our egos, our feelings and our outlook on life.

And we can get ourselves in an incredibly unproductive, self-flogging snit, obsessing about why “so and so” thought or said what about us.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. After all, reality check, Jesus had more than His share of naysayers, critics and enemies…

“Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him.”

Matthew 26:4

“Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.”

Matthew 12:14

“And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety and kill him.”

Matthew 26:4

“Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.”

John 11:53

You get the point.

So, why should we expect to glide easily and unchallenged through life?

“The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.”

Matthew 10:24

Scripture, therefore, is an important filter, screening with accurate perspective, what is the true intent of a thought, word or deed…

“And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.”

Deuteronomy 30:6

“But, O LORD of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause.”

Jeremiah 11:20

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Hebrews 4:12

Bottom line: our lives are far too important to worry about each and every opinion out there. We have too much to do.

So, concerning the next offense which breezes your way, ask yourself if God really wants you occupied with it? Test the spirits…

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.

We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”

1 John 4:1-6

Perhaps, the Most High God would rather you “stay out of it.” Perhaps He has better ways for you to be blessed in how you spend your time.

In all of our “staying out of it” then, let’s remember there’s a quite helpful “do…”

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Less “busybody,” more productive child of the Most High. Let’s all choose well.

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse









The Still, Silent Challenge: Do We Sit With Our Hearts?


I admit it. I have a difficult time being still.

I like background noise, action and movement. This probably explains why I am pathetic at relaxation exercises, Tai Chi and yoga. I just can’t seem to settle down. The room may be completely quiet, yet my thoughts, “to do” lists and anxieties are often at record-setting decibel levels.

And this noise is often a part of the addiction package. Why? Because it’s distracting. And anything that promises to provide escape from reality is tantalizing.

So, bring on the vices, the noise, the social media, the cell phone apps, the adrenaline rush and the frenetic pace of distraction. We don’t want to face unpleasant situations.

“Social networking already accounts for 28 percent of all media time spent online... on average using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

18 percent of social media users can’t go a few hours without checking Facebook, and 28 percent of iPhone users check their Twitter feed before getting up in the morning.”

“Social Media Addiction: Statistics & Trends,” Shea Bennett,

Yet, often, instead of finding relief, let alone, solutions, to our less than ideal realities, we find ourselves even more anxious.

And so, like any true junkie, we need our “fix” faster, more furious and in larger quantities than when we started our great escape plan.

But we are no closer to health and blessing. And that result often points to the fact we do not want to get searched.

"The unexamined life is not worth living.”


Let’s go back to the junkie for a moment. Imagine there he is, caught red-handed, with paraphernalia and substances right in his pockets. Now, did that junkie voluntarily desire to get caught and searched? Of course not. He does not want all of the truth, hidden from view, brought into the unflinching light. He doesn’t want quiet, stillness and self-reflection. He wants to be distracted by using.

But the benefits which can arise from getting quiet and honest, from voluntarily granting spiritual search warrants, are profound.

  • Heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and oxygen consumption are all decreased.
  • Meditators are less anxious and nervous.
  • Meditators were more independent and self-confident
  • People who deliberated daily were less fearful of death.
  • 75% of insomniacs who started a daily meditation program were able to fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed.
  • Production of the stress hormone Cortisol is greatly decreased, thus making it possible for those people to deal with stress better when it occurs.
  • Women with PMS showed symptom improvements after 5 months of steady daily rumination and reflection.
  • Thickness of the artery walls decreased which effectively lowers the risk of heart attack or stroke by 8% to 15%.
  • Relaxation therapy was helpful in chronic pain patients.
  • 60% of anxiety prone people showed marked improvements in anxiety levels after 6-9 months.

“Statistics on People who Meditate,” Joel Sparks,

This comes from allowing the Divine complete access to our hearts.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalms 139:23-24

 “Yeah, yeah, yeah. But that’s meditation.” I hear that response murmured from some of you.

What about those of us who pray instead of meditate?

What about those findings?

Again, there are astounding benefits.

“For the past 30 years, Harvard scientist Herbert Benson, MD, has conducted his own studies on prayer... ‘All forms of prayer,’ he says, ‘evoke a relaxation response that quells stress, quiets the body, and promotes healing. Prayer involves repetition -- of sounds, words -- and therein lies its healing effects.’ ...”

“Can Prayer Heal?” By Jeanie Lerche Davis

Whether it is prayer or meditation, it goes beyond mere semantics. Spiritual power is found in the real, raw, honest assessment and heart connection with a Force greater than ourselves.

“ ...‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’”

Psalm 46:10

That often cannot happen in noise and distraction. It originates from silence, stillness and a spirit of true yearning. It exists in the moments of probing questions...

What am I wanting right now?

Why am I wanting it?

Where’s my heart?

Often, it’s not in the spectacle of a morning church service. It’s not in the right speech repeated in a many a religious context.

“‘...This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.’”

Mark 7:6

Instead, many times, it occurs when everyone has gone home, when all activities and business are finished. It happens when everything is quiet and it is just the individual and the Most High, intermingling. It is a sacred, intimate experience, should we dare to tap into it.

We cannot escape this reality; life issues are heart issues. And, applying God’s Word to them is the ongoing work we need to engage in. It speaks to the power and meaning of relationship over religion.

Therefore, addiction, often, is a substitute for our Divine connection with the Most High. Addiction wants to circumvent intimacy with a failed, temporary substitute which short circuits our spiritual selves; it interferes with our physical, mental and emotional recovery processes.

Indeed, at any given moment, we are in a position to ask ourselves...

Am I facing my truth or am I running away from it?

How close is my heart to the Most High God?

Am I dealing with who I am?

Are we truly sitting down with our honest answers to those questions?

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse


Urgent? Why?

I must admit, my favorite question is “why?”

I ask it a lot: of The Most High, of others, of myself, of life.

And yes, I ask the why question concerning the tricky addiction/recovery issue.

Author, Jonathan Lockwood Huie really takes that matter to task, using two words.

“Urgent? Why?”

It’s not merely a question; it’s a statement...about the significance of urgency.

And this is right up addiction’s alley. The fix driving the addiction- why?

Why is this my answer?

Why will this solve things?

Why will nothing else do?

Why must I be instantly healed?

It is that last question which brought two scripture passages to my mind: Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus.

First, let’s look at Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:22-42).

If you know anything about me and the writing I’ve done over the years, this bit of scripture is close to my heart. It lit the fuse to the creation and publication of my book, “Thin Enough.” And it provided life-changing revelation and healing concerning my faith and eating disorder issues.

Let’s review its power.

Jesus was out and about one day...

22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,

23 And besought him greatly, saying, ‘My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.’

24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.

So, okay, Jesus has set about to deal with this urgent matter. Things look hopeful.

And then life interrupted. There was a woman in need of healing...

25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

Now, I know if I were Jairus or any of the disciples, I’d start feeling like Jesus was getting distracted.

“Come on, Lord. You already promised to take care of this life and death matter and administer miracles for Jairus. We’re not in a position to over-schedule here!”

Still, Jesus was Jesus. So, that meant He tended to her situation also, even in the face of a “booked appointment.”

And how could He not? Her desperate circumstances prompted her bold move to seek Jesus for her healing...

27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

28 For she said, ‘If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.’

29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

Now, keep in mind, this malady existed for years. She suffered for years.

So, in this moment, suddenly, she was healed? Really?

That sounds quite powerful and unbelievable.

And what contributes to its impact, if we look closely is how, indeed, this healing not only affected her, but Our Savior as well...

30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’

31 And his disciples said unto him, ‘Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?’

32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.

He was moved by her actions. What was the factor which made all the difference? Faith.

33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

34 And he said unto her, ‘Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.’

I think we underestimate this Truth too often.

Faith... in an interruption...

Faith... in imperfect lives... the midst of disease... the middle of...addiction?

One can reason, perhaps, while this woman was afflicted for years, her faith was also being fine- tuned, stretched and strengthened. I’m sure none of it felt great in the process.

Indeed, God, it seems, was in no hurry to develop something as important as that attribute.

“Urgent? Why?”

It takes as long as it takes until...

Pow! Results!

This woman with the issue of blood illustrates faith, healing and the Most High in action, spiting circumstances and schedules. He works regardless.

Furthermore, He does not have preferential treatment of anyone (Romans 2:11; Deuteronomy 10:17; Galatians 2:6; Job 34:19; Acts 10:34).

If there is a person needing healing standing in front of another person needing healing, His desire is to heal them both.

Any human-imposed “deadline” on making that happen, therefore, is a nonfactor to Him.

Which brings us back to the original matter at hand: Jairus’ daughter...

35 While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's house certain which said, ‘Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?’

While fresh from performing one miraculous healing, Jesus gets slammed with the dreaded bad news: “She’s dead.”

So, it’s over, huh?

Not so fast...

36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Be not afraid, only believe.’

But, because Jesus knew human beings only too well, He decided He needed to take drastic action.

Undeterred, He proceeded in His intentions to heal the girl, with absolutely no doubters or naysayers in the room.

37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.

And, oh yeah, also helpful to this negative environment? There was also drama going on.

38 And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.

39 And when he was come in, he saith unto them, ‘Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.’

I can almost hear the groaning, the sobbing and the fussiness from everyone. I’m sure there were a lot of “ugly cries” on faces.

And, of course, everyone still had the presence of mind to answer His reassuring declaration with a logical response...

40 And they laughed him to scorn...



 Am I right?

Still, Jesus was not interested in suffering fools...

“...But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.

Verse 40

He gets right down to business...

41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, ‘Talitha cumi;’ which is, being interpreted, ‘Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.’

What followed next was the reaction of our dramatic, fussy, whiny and impatient critics...

42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.”

So, this miracle was noteworthy. It should have removed all doubts about His Power.

However, things being what they are concerning the human race, you and I know it’s just not that simple. Scripture tells us to have everything established by two or three witnesses (2 Corinthians 13:1).

Okay. Just to make sure things weren’t a fluke, let’s check out another situation, one, in which death is already a reality.

Oh, Lazarus...

Scripture (John 11:11-46) sets the stage; Lazarus is dead.

“After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe...

Seeing is believing, right?

...But let us go to him.”

Yep, they went, even though things look bleak.

16 Then Thomas...said to the rest of the disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’”

Well, that’s the spirit...

So, while that cheery outlook is happening, oh, yeah, Jesus proceeds to comfort the dead guy’s sisters. But only one of them happened to show up.

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days...19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

You would think these sisters would enthusiastically appreciate this caring concern.


21 ‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’

Passive-aggressive translation: “You’re late.”

22 ‘But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’

Uh, can we say, patronizing?

23 Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

The calm reassurance proceeds, even despite this dead scene.

To which we get this response...

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, someday’ is her thinking process.

After all, when death is right there in your face, your consolation prize is often the “someday” hope.

But there was still a challenging concept and question for this particular sister, even in this dire situation...

25 Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’

And, in spite of the painful circumstances, Martha, however half-heartedly, accepts the radical thought and answers with a yes.

27 ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’

Still, with that being said, stuff needs to get done.

It’s time to get the other sister involved.

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. ‘The Teacher is here,’ she said, ‘and is asking for you.’ 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

Let’s see what happens.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Again with the passive-aggressive translation: “You’re late.”

Sisters of a feather, I guess.

Still, her distraught response didn’t change the effect she had on Him...

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

Okay, okay. Jesus might have thought, “Showtime. Gotta prove it. Faith is running low here.”

34 ‘Where have you laid him?’ he asked.

‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

There has been a lot of conversation and speculation about verse thirty-five. Most children, when faced with the challenge of memorizing and reciting Bible verses, hope for the opportunity to parrot this one, the shortest verse in the Bible.

And, over the centuries, debates have questioned what, exactly, Jesus was weeping about.

Was it sorrow for the sisters?

Was it the frustration of people doubting the loving and miraculous power of the Most High?

Was it Jesus’ genuine love for Lazarus himself?

It all started here and now, in this moment...

36 Then the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’

It looks like we might just have some compassionate folks who finally get the power of love. But we’re not out of the woods yet.

For, human beings being human beings, we, a few seconds later, have some spectators, piping in with their critiques...

37 But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’

There is just such a human need to express oneself, isn’t there?

In any case, it is the moment of Truth; our Messiah knows He has to get to work.

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 ‘Take away the stone,’ he said.

‘But, Lord,’ said Martha, the sister of the dead man, ‘by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.’

The stinky argument is a legitimate concern, I suppose.

Still, our Savior had to have been at least slightly irritated with all of the “but, but, but” reasons arguing against the Divine.

40 Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’

“Which part of ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life’ did you NOT understand?”

Hopeful, embarrassed or convicted, we’re not sure, exactly, what state of mind the peanut gallery was operating from.

Nevertheless, they obliged.

41 So they took away the stone...

And then a power prayer, specifically designed to prove, to everyone, the reality of God’s love and desire to heal...

...Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.’

And now, drumroll, please...

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’

You must have been able to hear a pin drop in that moment.

 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face...


Now let’s get Lazarus back to the land of the living.

...Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go.’

So, yet again, in verse forty-five, we see the results of God’s timing and power, even in spite of an “urgent” situation...

...Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.”

As we go about our individual recovery processes, at some point, each of us needs to challenge our own “urgent why questions.” We do have them. They are as unique as snowflakes.

 “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, ‘Why hast thou made me thus?’”

Romans 9:20

If we learn anything from the accounts of Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus, it is the reality of healing, of recovery, coming not necessarily in a typical fashion or in an instant “presto-change-o” way.

 It is, instead, the deeper, more gradual, lengthier experience of “years-in-the-making.”

 It is, perhaps, the seemingly absurd “against all odds” defiance of hopeless circumstances.

It is the Most High God doing a thorough, meaningful and life-affirming work, one which will not be rushed because of any “urgent’s” desperate plea.

Where are you right now?

Are you wanting God to speed your healing?

Are you wanting the instantaneous, painless cure?

Are you wanting “life more abundant” (John 10:10)?

Are you wanting your urgent way or God’s way?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

When things seem too hopeless and impossible for us, we need to remember they are not for a very Specific Someone Else...

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?”

Jeremiah 32:27

So, with that in mind, really, where is the urgency?

“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:”

Isaiah 46:10

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse