Recess, Resurrection, and Redemption

by Kelly Wilson Mize @KellyWilsonMize

Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!”  And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!” John 11: 43-44 NLT

Blue skies, fresh air and good friends–what could be better? Remember the sense of joy you felt when it was finally time for recess in elementary school? Or in college when you completed the final exam of the semester?  Five o’clock on Friday after a long week? Stop and think about that feeling for a second…

Ahh, freedom.

As a former elementary educator, I was able to witness that kind of exuberance on a regular basis.  When the doors leading to the playground burst open, bright smiles overtook small faces and excitement permeated the air. No matter how much the kids loved school and their teachers, there was just something about being ‘set free’—released from a place of restriction and confinement—to one of liberty. 

Many of us have lived in a somewhat restricted environment the last few months: our daily outlook has been limited to the view of only ‘essential’ locations. And though some indirect blessings may have come as a result of this strange season of COVID 19—family dinners, leisurely nature walks, a breather from tight, hectic schedules—I think most of us have had struggled with feeling a little restless or maybe even downright claustrophobic. 

The entire world, it seems, is searching for a reason to hope.

As believers, we not only have a reason, but firm assurance of that hope. According to the New Testament, Jesus’ beloved friend, Lazarus, had been dead for four whole days by the time Jesus arrived on the scene. All hope seemed lost. But Jesus had a plan. He went to Lazarus’ tomb, ordered the stone to be rolled away, and called out to him, “Lazarus, come out!” 

Then, the Bible says, the dead man came out, still wrapped in his grave clothes. Can you even begin to imagine what it must have been like to be there?

Jesus then spoke a simple sentence: “Unwrap him and let him go!”

Different versions of the Bible use different words to describe Jesus’ command:

Free him.

Unbind him.

Unwrap him.

Loose him.

…and Let. Him. Go!

Do you sometimes feel that you are being held in the darkness of a tomb, bound by a force that is taking away your very life?

What is holding you back—binding you, wrapping you up—in a way that has rendered you helpless?  What daily confinement do you need to be released from: loneliness? Anxiety, Depression? Anger? Jealousy? Unforgiveness? 

How was Lazarus miraculously brought back to life from death? Jesus spoke. We may not physically have Jesus, in human form, verbalizing life over us. But we do, like Lazarus did, have His presence and His WORD. We were given a life-changing Book bursting with promises that assure us of His love, power, and protection. It’s a freedom that’s even better than the joy of recess on a beautiful day!

Allow God to free you from the negative things that restrict you, so that you can leave the dark tomb behind, and experience authentic life—peace, security, and hope. Listen to His voice when He commands that you be unbound. Embrace His presence and absorb His Word. Because that Word is perfect truth, and truth is the only thing that has the power to truly set us free. (John 8:32)

Recess, Resurrection, and Redemption – encouragement from @KellyWilsonMize on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Kelly Wilson Mize is a wife, mother of two, educator, and freelance writer with a master’s degree in education and 20 years of published writing experience. She has written numerous articles, interviews, curriculum projects, and devotions, and has contributed to seven books. Credits include LifeWay, Bethany House, Guideposts,
(in)courage, and others. Find more from Kelly at

Join the conversation: Have you been set free from something holding you back? Please share! What is holding you back or rendered you helpless?



One thought on “Recess, Resurrection, and Redemption

  1. Amen. Ask God for help. I have asked Him to help me forgive someone who has deeply hurt my family. He has shown me how to forgive. I don’t have to love the actions of the person, but my heart has softened toward them. Thank You Lord.

    Liked by 1 person

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