a · r i s e / ə ˈ r ī z /
(verb) to get up or stand up.
As I spoke to a group of mostly “seasoned” women (and I say that with great admiration) this past weekend, I knew they had experienced much more of life – both the beautiful and the brutal – than I had in my mid-seasoned life. After listening to the colossal yet simple ways they were faithfully serving our community, I stood before them with tears cascading down my face. I botched my introduction to say the least. I was just so deeply grateful and refreshed to be surrounded by this precious, faithful generation of women who chose to show up despite the heavy things, the hard things, and even the horrible things they have surely endured in their own long-lived lives.
Why did they show up on a Saturday for six hours to serve in the unseen and unapplauded backdrop of drop-off stations and thrift locations? Because the joy of the Lord is their strength, and their hearts are steadfast on the One who has called them.
Called to Arise
It is true, every one of us has had the breath knocked right out of us, in some way and at some point, particularly in a world when the only thing that seems to unite is that which divides. Where bad news attempts to become normal news. And where fear of the future comes close to making you forget Who holds the future.
In Luke chapter seven, Jesus is on His way to a town called Nain. As He nears the gate of the city,
“a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Don’t cry.’ Then he came up and touched the coffin, and the bearers stood still. And he said, ‘Young man…arise.’”
It is true, life is hard. Suffering is inevitable. Brokenness will be.
But this I know beyond a shadow of a doubt:
God makes holy out of horrible.
God moves the impossible.
God mends what breaks.
God miracles life from death.
And though division, bad news, heartache, and fear will still knock, it doesn’t have to knock you down … or out. Because the Breath of Heaven has come to you.
That you may speak up, instead of remaining silent. That you may show up, instead of staying back. That you may look up, instead of staring behind at what could have been or should have been.
Friend, He is with you, calling you to arise.
And may I ask you to consider one thing as you “get up?” Think of a relationship, a dream, or a pursuit that has been broken or even one that has ended in the last year (perhaps even in death, and if so, I grieve with you and I hope with you, too).
In what way(s) might God be calling you to arise, not despite of what’s been broken rather because of it? In other words, how can this potentially stale place of pain become a wellspring of purpose for the glory of God? And if you’re not sure, that’s okay, too. Just ask, stay expectant, and He will show up for you, in perfect time.
**This is an adapted excerpt from Coming to Light: An Advent Experience Through the Book of Luke, Day Seven. It is available on Amazon!