5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was John 11:5-6 (ESV)
When I was reading this passage it brought to mind times when my boys were younger. They would run around like crazy, often completely unaware of their surroundings and the dangers that loomed around them. Things to trip on, structures to run into, or people who may not be safe for them. I tried to be consistently on alert to keep them safe and be there to rescue them at a moments notice. I did this with twice the diligence because of my hearing loss. I was fearful of what might happen if I missed something.
I did this because I loved them. Who loves their child and just watches and waits while they are hurting and struggling? Right?!
That is why this scripture seems to contradictory to me. How can we read in one sentence how Jesus loved Martha, her sister Mary, and their brother, Lazarus, and then in the next sentence we hear how He waited two days longer to go see him?
How is that loving them?
I joke with others about how God’s timing is never mine. Deep down, I know that it is the truth and I have struggled to understand. These actions from Him, or lack of action, trigger deep places of hurt within my heart and I labor to trust. I have agonized in battle, to feel loved in the midst of it because it just does not feel loving.
Jesus knew what God’s bigger plan was here. He knew there was a purpose in the waiting and He trusted His Father’s plan.
We don’t have the luxury to see the bigger picture of what God is doing. We usually don’t see the big plan in motion until it is all finished and we are on the other side. It most likely does not feel like the waiting has purpose or much meaning in the middle of it, and we struggle to trust His plan as we are walking through it all.
Are you in a waiting time?
Have you been crying out to God, asking for help and it feels like He isn’t there or He isn’t answering?
I understand. I struggle the same way. I am walking this out with you.
I am taking odd comfort in these scriptures today.
I know we have been calling out to Him and asking Him for help. We are bringing Him those we love, and the battles they are facing. Our hearts feel tormented and heavy with burden, and we wonder when He is coming in to rescue us and help us up, like a good Father should, or so we think.
17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died John 11:17-21
Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:32
I love the honesty and vulnerability Martha and Mary show here. They both confronted Jesus with their feelings. If He had been there, their brother wouldn’t have died. They are asking Him why He waited to come. They are seeking to understand why He wasn’t there in the way they thought He should be, and now their brother is dead and they are grieving.
We NEED to be honest with God. We NEED to ask Him the hard questions and seek Him in our grieving. We NEED to feel what we are feeling and invite Him in to those places. This is where I have found my healing has begun. This is where He begins to open the eyes of my heart. Sometimes it is not a quick response and I have to wait for that as well, but this step is necessary.
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” John 11:23-27
Jesus reassures Martha that her brother will rise again, but she still does not fully comprehend the miracle that is about to happen.
We struggle to believe God can do miracles in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones. Why is that? is it because we don’t see them much or they seem too impossible? I think sometimes we share more about the problems and what is wrong in our lives than what we see God do in them. We don’t share the miracles God does in us, in our lives, and in the lives of those around us.
I want to encourage us to listen to ourselves sometimes. Let’s listen to our conversations and be mindful to talk about the miracles too, because God is working and moving, even in the unseen. We NEED to encourage one another in that truth, otherwise it is too easy to get discouraged and we give up expecting a miracle from God. We lose hope and we need to keep encouraging one another that our hope is in God, especially in these hard and dark times.
The other point here I wanted to bring out is that even though Martha questioned Jesus about His timing, it didn’t take away from her knowing who He was. She still believed He was Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Her Savior.
Our enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. The way he deceived, Eve in the Garden of Eden, was to plant seeds of doubt about God being who He said He is. He planted seeds of doubt about whether God was giving His best to her. This is the same strategy He uses today. If he can get us to question if God is who He says He is and if He truly is giving us HIs best, than we can be led down a path far away from God.
I have gone down that path once, and God lovingly brought me back. It was a much harder road than necessary, but he brought me back. Whenever I get to a place where I am questioning, and I have been there several times since, I remember the lesson from that time I walked away.
I want to encourage you today. I know you may be weary, discouraged, and not feeling very loved today. I know the waiting is hard, I am there with you. I want to speak truth to you today. God loves you, He is still there, and He still does miracles today. He is still who He says He is, and He wants His best for you.
If you are struggling today or need some prayer, please share here or feel free to private message me and I will pray with you. You are not alone. He is with you, and so are we.