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“If Only…” by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: August 27, 2017

Those haunting raw words keep us awake at night, encrust our hearts and trap us in the “City of Regret.”

  • If only the ambulance arrived sooner.
  • If only I saw symptoms.
  • If only I hadn’t opened that cash drawer.
  • If only I hadn’t said that, done that, ignored that.
  • If only I hadn’t started gambling, drinking, overeating.

The pain gnaws at our soul and accuses of us failure and forbids us to move forward in freedom.

What I’ve learned in the last few months is that resurrection life isn’t just about what happens after we die, it’s what happens while we live. Fully alive! Right now my darling Jack is experiencing resurrection life in ways our human minds cannot even imagine. I miss him dreadfully and can’t even comprehend the joy he experiencing. But resurrection life starts in our spirit when we receive Christ as our Saviour and is completed when we pass into our Heavenly home.

So how can we experience the fullness of life right now? I’ve been reading the story of Lazarus when he was dead in the tomb for four days. Jesus could have come and brought Lazarus back to life, he was only two miles from the home of Mary and Martha. But he didn’t. When Jesus finally arrived Martha ran out to greet Him, fell at His feet and cried out: “If you had been here…(John 11:32). If only you had come when I asked you to come my brother would be alive. I can’t even imagine the pain of that “if only.” But the only response from Jesus is: “Where have you laid him?”

When I personalize this story it tells me Jesus wants to know what have I done with my pain, where have I hidden it? Jesus wants me to point to my regrets and suffering so that He can bring it from the darkness; from it’s stinky tomb and resurrect it into new life.   To look at it, speak the truth of the resurrection life, remove the grave clothes and begin to live.

Jesus was not there to rebuke Martha and Mary for their unbelief. In fact Jesus wept with them. Jesus knows all our “if only’s” and He wants us to point to them so that he can help us remove the grave clothes and life in resurrection power. Right now. He doesn’t want us living in the City of Regret; I believe He wants us to live the glorious life He died for.


Posted in: death, Freedom, grief, if only, Jesus, joy, pain, regret, resurrection, unbelief

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