“Lord, the one you love is sick,” said the message. Jesus’ friend Lazarus was clinging to life when the message came from Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha (see John 11).
Jesus did not seem troubled by the news. As a matter of fact, He declared, “This sickness will not end in death. No it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
And then Jesus did the unexpected — NOTHING! He stayed where he was for two more days and did absolutely nothing while Lazarus died. He had healed so many people before, so why didn’t He go to Lazarus immediately and make him well. How could he sit there and do nothing?
Don’t you hate it when God doesn’t do what you think He should? I am sure most of us at one time in life have run into a situation and thought, “How could God have allowed that to happen?”
This is what Mary and Martha were thinking when Jesus finally arrived four days after Lazarus’ death.
Both of the sisters questioned Jesus upon his arrival saying, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
In their hearts, they were full of disappointment with God. Jesus had healed so many others. Why now did he not heal his own friend? How could Jesus have let them down like this? The sisters loved Jesus and believed in Him, but were confused by his lack of action.
Jesus told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25,26). This quote from Jesus is a cornerstone of Christian theology and doctrine.
Good doctrine and theology were not helping the disappointment and confusion to fade away from these grief-stricken women though.
Then Jesus, the resurrection and the life, stepped up to the tomb and called forth Lazarus from the realm of the dead. Jesus statement — “I am the resurrection and the life” — along with his power to raise Lazarus from the dead teach us that everything the Bible has to say about heaven, hell, and the promise of eternal life is wrapped up in the person of the Lord, Jesus Christ. He holds eternity in his hands, so He alone should be trusted with our eternity.
The raising of Lazarus teaches us another lesson though. When God seems to be doing nothing, He may be doing more than you could ever imagine. Jesus had declared that Lazarus’ sickness was for the glory of God. Jesus knew God would be totally glorified in the situation at hand.
When Lazarus died, Jesus was just getting started. He used Lazarus’ situation to bring the utmost glory to His father. No he didn’t do what we were expecting (heal Lazarus) — He did something better.
I know there will be times in the future when God doesn’t do what I expect, or think He should do. I know in every situation, however, He can and will bring greater glory to Himself. If He doesn’t do what I think He should, it is very probable that God has something better in mind.
Are you dealing with disappointment right now? Has God acted in a way that you would not have expected?
Take heart friend, Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He can breathe life into any situation you are dealing with.
Entrust your situation to God. Then ask God to use your circumstances for His honor and glory. Entreat Him to bring forth the greatest glory possible in your life and situation. And then watch out to see what God does. It may seem like He is doing is nothing at the moment, but He may be doing more than you could ever imagine. If you don’t believe me, just ask Lazarus. And that’s the Word.
The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at email@example.com or 912-634-2960.