That’s how the story changes in the New Testament. We “were dead in our trespasses and sins… but God.” That’s because he isn’t like the fallen humans in your life. He’s different in all the ways that matter. Listen:
“When I passed by you and saw you…”
Did you catch that? God saw you. He saw it all. He sees you now, sees the tears welling up in your eyes, the psychic lump swelling in your throat, the dead pain in your chest, the tears clutching your cheeks, that old feeling of pain and worthlessness you try so hard to pretend is gone. You know what I mean.
But listen: Whatever happened before, God is passing by you now. He’s stopping. He sees you. Praise God, he sees you. Right now.
“And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood…”
The NIV says that he “saw you kicking about in your own blood.”
He sees your struggle, the helpless kicking and striving. He hears your labored breaths, the sadistic nightmares, the awful memories. He sees what people have done to you, that you have been left alone and not cared for, that you are neglected and despised. He sees the mess. All of it. The flies, the placenta, the bloody uterus splayed there across the field where you are lying. He knows you have bad blood, that you were born into sin, that you have all of mom and dad’s worst traits swimming through the cells of your soul. He sees your sin, your self contempt, your self pity. You are on your way out, gasping for air, deserving nothing.
“I said to you in your blood…”
What?! In my blood?
In your blood. He sees it all, smells the awful reek, knows your past, your faults, your history, your “condition.”
And he speaks to me?
Yes. And look—he’s not speaking to you in church, or at Bible Study, or all the other places where you make it look like you have it all together. Your hair isn’t done just so. You aren’t dressed up and ready to go. Not at all. He speaks to you in your blood. He speaks to you in the coagulating muck of your spilled dreams, in the futile whirlpool of your sinful compensation, in your discouragement, in your rejection, in your failed efforts, in your smell, in your crisis, in the slander that cut you open. In your mess of a life. He speaks to you in your blood.
But what is He saying?
Good question. What would the Lord of the Universe say as he stoops down to embrace this putrid, smelly, helpless thing abandoned there in the zombied grass?
Yes, live. That’s a command. A blessing. An invitation. A miracle waiting to be claimed. “Live!”
What? That’s his word to me? Live? Live?!
“Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!”
Just so you couldn’t miss it, just so you couldn’t brush it off, He said it twice. He commanded it twice, blessed you twice, invited you twice. Live!
‘Live’ is a tame way of putting it. The Hebrew literally means “thrive” with a capital ‘T.’ Come to life. Lazarus, come forth. Storm, be still. Demon, come out. Will the real person underneath all the blood and flies and stench please stand up, come to meet me, look me in the eyes? Live!
Can you hear him? Can you hear it? That’s your invitation, your blessing, your command—to rise up and walk. Not on your own strength. Not on your life. He calls you to rise up on the strength of his word, his command.
For you see, God calls us to do things we cannot do.
Yes. God calls us to do things we cannot do. He called the Israelites to march across an ocean, and later on, to forge a flooded river. He called Peter to walk on water, told his disciples to cast out demons and heal the sick. He told Gideon to defeat a vast army with 300 skittish soldiers.
None of these people could do what God asked them to do. No one can walk through a sea or a flooded river. No one can walk on one, either. Or cast out demons, or heal the sick. Or “live” when they’re stuck in their blood.
That is, until God commands it.
You see, as soon as he commands, he empowers. So two minutes ago, maybe you couldn’t live. You couldn’t rise up and walk. But now he’s spoken. Now he’s called, invited, blessed, commanded. Now you can walk on the water of your storm too.