The story of Lazarus gave me hope. I hope it does the same for you.
In "reading the red" in John 11, I found this hope and a stirring in me. In verse 4, Jesus says, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it." I remembered all the promises that my lost loved one, who is spiritually dead, is really just sleeping, and that God will work all of what is going on now for his good, and God will receive the glory.
In verse 11, Jesus said, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up." I believe this is in response to the many prayers I have prayed for Jehovah Shammah, The Lord is There, to be with my lost loved one, and the prayers asking Jehovah Sabaoth to send His holy angels, the ministering spirits, with swords drawn, to fight satan on behalf of him. I believe God Himself is at work in the life of my prodigal to draw him back to Himself.
Verse 23 reveals a very pointed promise: "Your brother will rise again." My lost loved one will live in Christ again, and I believe this promise will soon be realized. Jesus says it another way in verses 25-26: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" The answer to His question is, "Yes, I do!!!"
Then Jesus said, "Where have you laid him?" (Verse 34). My answer is, "I have lain him in the arms of the Savior, the Redeemer, the One Who keeps His promises," and I continue to lay him there daily, praying prayers as the Spirit leads and as I see needs arise. In the everlasting arms of the Almighty is the best place for my prodigal to be.
When I read, "Take away the stone," in verse 39, I searched my heart to see if there was anything I needed to remove in our relationship, anything that would hinder my loved one's salvation, any offense, or any prayer I may not have prayed. (Remember, James 4:2 says, "Yet you do not have because you do not ask.")
Then Jesus said, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?" (Verse 40). My heart cries, "I believe! I believe!! I know I will see the glory of God in this person's life!!"
Then verses 41-42 records Jesus' prayer for Lazarus and those around Him. "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me."
Then He tells Lazarus to come forth! (Verse 43) Lazarus obeys! Hallelujah!! I can hardly wait!
Then there is a directive to the witnesses, to those around the tomb. Jesus tells them, "Loose him, and let him go" (Verse 44). This pricked my heart. I hope that when the time comes, I will not be a hindrance in any way my loved one's walk with the Lord. I hope that I can accept the "all things new" in his life, that I will not say anything that will cause him pain or offense, that I will let God be God in his life and allow God to do the work that needs to be done without my interference or trying to hurry the process along. I hope I can let him be free to worship God, serve God, and to fulfill God's purposes in his life.
This passage, although it is talking about a physical death, gave me hope for the resurrection of my lost loved one's soul and spirit. I believe God's promises!!!