“Go into the village opposite you, and immed- iately as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here.”
“They went away and found a colt tied at the door, outside in the street; and they untied it.”
“Find a colt” and “untie it”. The disciples did what they were told. They “found a colt tied at the door” and “they untied it”. That’s the nature of the world in which we live. It’s all tied up. Our job is to “untie it”. The “untying” ministry starts with me. I must “untie” my tongue and speak with conviction when bold talk is called for. I must “untie” my hands when there’s work to do.I must “untie” my feet and go to the places I am called, even when I prefer to relax at home. I must help “untie” those who suffer the bondage of sin and shame. Sometimes I must “untie” the people I love and let them go.
My mother slipped on a throw rug in her bathroom on her 80th birthday, about 8 years ago. She knocked a hole in the wall and banged her head. Blood was everywhere. X-rays revealed a fracture in the C2 vertebra in her neck. My brother called from the emergency room. She came out of the hospital a few days later with instructions to keep her neck absolutely still for a month or risk surgery. Someone had to stay with her. My wife was the only available and qualified candidate so she volunteered to take my youngest child (Rachel, now 14 years old) out of kindergarten and travel to Bothell, Washington.
I’m ashamed to say, I didn’t want my wife to go. I would rather have had her remain home to provide the loving services I had grown to expect from her. There was no question that she should go, but I would miss her. My son and I muddled through our days of work and school alone. Well, not quite alone. Adonica wonderfully prearranged with our extraordinary neighbors to assist me with food and childcare. I was obviously called to “untie” my precious wife and send her with Jesus in Bothell. I would also learn to “untie” my dependence upon her for the days we had to be apart. This was my “untying” ministry and I was (somewhat) happy to perform it.
Today, both my mother and my wife are with Jesus. Adonica died of cancer almost 6 months ago. I would never voluntarily and permanently “untie” my wife. The ties that bound my heart to hers were just too strong. She was too young to die. My teenage children and I miss her more than we can express in words. Tears flow routinely in our home now. We must now face the unthinkable and learn to “untie” our our wife and mother. We still deeply love Adonica and want her back, but this time she will never return to our home.
Our grief is intense, but we are not alone. Everyone will experience loss. We are called to “find” and “untie” that which is bound up with the suffering that characterizes the human condition. Jesus promised to direct and empower our ministry of “untying”…
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Matthew 16.19 NIV
After praying, Jesus shouted to the dearly departed, “Lazarus, come out!” The man literally came back from the dead! Like Lazarus, whose “hands and feet were wrapped with strips of burial cloth”, people today are bound with cords of fear, brokenness, and desperation. His command is exactly as it was 20 centuries ago…
“Jesus then told the people, ‘Untie him and let him go.’”
John 11.43-44 CEV