This funeral was bleak and disheartening. People of all ages, the old and young, were sobbing because of the death of this girl. I heard of this girl before but did not know her fully. I was mainly attending to support a friend of mine who asked me to go with her. The look of heartache in my friend’s face was enough to make me shed tears of anguish as well. A man to my left kept shaking his head in disbelief saying, “If only she knew, it’s never too late.” I pondered what he said and continued to console my friend.
Never did I realize that my heart would soon bear a burden I was not ready to handle.
Before the final disposition, it was time to view the body. I followed my dear friend to the front of the church behind a line to see a girl that the world around me was in deep affliction for. An elder lady in front of us kept saying under her breath, “I needed you to believe.” Slowly, one by one, people walked by her in the casket, an array of emotions for each person.
A Life Not Lived
When it got time for us to view the body, my friend looked first. She cried out to the dead body, “Nicci, I will forever miss you!”
“Nicci?” I thought. “I’m right here,” I nudged to my friend. But her head was down in her hands with a pool full of tears. My heart began to pound faster and louder, faster and louder. I looked into the casket and to my disbelief, there I was…
It was me. I was laying in the casket. But what I saw was more than a body. It’s what everyone was agonizing over. Laying there was the potential of me, the gifts not utilized, the relationships not healed, the dreams in my heart that were never achieved. My heart broke into a million pieces because the people crying were not in pain from a life that was lost. They were crying over a life not lived.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou
It’s Never Too Late!
There’s a story in the Bible about a man who had just died and was the only son of a widow. This widow had also lost her husband, so in those days a widow without anyone was broke. She was destined for poverty and a grim future. As this funeral procession was taking place in Nain, Jesus’ heart went out to the widow and he did only what Jesus could do. He spoke to the dead man and said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” (Luke 7:14 NIV)
In Louie Giglio’s book, The Comeback, he states how “Jesus was reaching with his power and authority into death and commanding that which was dead to be alive again.” Jesus wasn’t merely hoping something good would happen (Giglio). He was giving death an order (Giglio). And immediately, the young man sat up.
Awake, O Sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. ~Ephesians 5:14
Get Up and Get Out!
The power and presence of Jesus can move in our lives today just like He did for the young man in Nain. The enemy wants to convince you that Jesus doesn’t care, that you’re far too gone, too dead, or too far removed. All of that is a lie!
The enemy wants to bury your dreams, relationships, visions, and plans. But Jesus is interrupting that funeral and telling that thing to get up! Jesus is a dream restorer. Today is your day to get out and GET UP! That’s the Gospel. Jesus raises the dead. The Gospel is about resurrection power.
However, it’s more than what happens to you. What’s at stake is how God wants to raise up hope in a community, a nation and the world to show what God is doing in your life. We need God’s saving grace to be made alive, but we need His transforming grace to be made alive everyday (Giglio).
5 Action Steps You can Take Today – It’s Never Too Late
If you’re like me, you’re ready for God to do a new work in your life and resurrect the dream in your heart. Just know that it’s not our job to make it happen, it’s only our job to believe. All we can do is keep doing the very best at whatever God has put in front of us. Here are 5 faith actionable steps we can take today from Joyce Meyer’s book, You Can Begin Again.
- The “Prayer” Step – Prayer isn’t a last resort, it’s the first step! Thank God for what He is doing in your life; seek Him for wisdom and guidance; and be honest with Him about your doubts and concerns. (Philippians 4:6 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
- The “Word” Step – Reading, studying, and meditating on Scripture fills us with faith and gives us strength we need for the challenges of the day. Let’s begin each day in the Word. (Psalm 119:105 and Hebrews 4:12)
- The “Help Others” Step – In the midst of asking God what He wants us to do, we can always help someone else. Being a blessing to others is always the will of God and you’ll be surprised how God will meet your needs along the way. (Hebrews 13:16 and Philippians 2:4)
- The “Make A Choice” Step – Take a step today, and never forget to ask for God’s help (His grace) in executing your choice. We can do all things with and through Him, but we can do nothing without Him. (Joshua 24:15 and Deuteronomy 30:19)
- The “Thanksgiving” Step – When you are not sure what step to take, we can always thank God for His kindness, His goodness, and His faithfulness in our lives. Sometimes we are so anxious to get something new from God that we aren’t enjoying the things He has already blessed us with. We can never go wrong with thanksgiving. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 and Ephesians 5:20)
Recommended Reading and Resources:
It’s Not Too Late: Your Future Can Be Greater Than Your Past