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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Faith column: Finding God when things fall apart

  • Have you ever asked, “If God loves me so much, why is this happening?”
    Believe me, if you have, you aren't the only one. There are many things that seem mysterious to us, but are ordained by God for His glory and our good.
    In the context of the book of John, chapter 11, we find three friends of our Lord Jesus — Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
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  • Have you ever asked, “If God loves me so much, why is this happening?”
    Believe me, if you have, you aren't the only one. There are many things that seem mysterious to us, but are ordained by God for His glory and our good.
    In the context of the book of John, chapter 11, we find three friends of our Lord Jesus — Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
    John, in his Gospel, went out of his way to stress the special relationship Jesus had with this family. As John wrote, Jesus loved them. It is this special love for them that explains the unique way the sisters worded their message to Jesus: “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
    Jesus says something very interesting when the messenger told Jesus of Lazarus, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it.”
    I imagine that to the sisters and anyone else who heard what Jesus said it may have seemed as if His words had not been true.
    Lazarus had died after all. We learn the relationship between God’s promise and divine intervention can be puzzling.
    Sometimes we need trust to take us where understanding cannot go. We often have to say, “Lord I do not understand, but I trust You.”
    But, Jesus doesn’t drop everything to run and heal Lazarus, his friend. Why does He make them wait?
    Later on, verse 17 tells us that when Jesus finally walked into the village, Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. It probably took the messenger one day to reach Jesus, after which Jesus waited two more days before leaving.
    It would have then taken Him one full day to get to the village of Bethany. That also means Lazarus must have died soon after the messenger left. It must have seemed like four long days.
    We see that Jesus didn’t want to heal a sick man, but raise a dead man.
    Martha addresses Jesus again.
    In verse 21, she says, “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Here, she feels cheated. She actually blames Jesus for the whole problem. She is saying, “Where were you when I needed you?”
    Does that sound familiar? Have you ever asked, “Lord, how could you let this happen to me,” as if you believed you should be spared from pain in this life.
    They are standing at the tomb and Jesus instructs the stone to be taken away.
    Now, for most people, this would be a moment of awe and respect, but Martha has a comment. She says “But Lord, by this time there is a bad odor, for he had been there four days.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Martha is saying, “Are you sure Lord? That might be a mistake.” I won’t ask for a show of hands, but have you ever told the Lord how to do His work?
    In verse 43, we hear the powerful words of Christ, “Lazarus, come out.” Notice, Jesus allowed others to participate according to their ability to remove the stone and also the burial clothes.
    Let me remind you, Jesus hasn’t forgotten about you or the difficult things in your life.
    But in John 11, we see something real about Martha also. She had a heart for God. I know she opened her mouth when she shouldn’t have, but don’t miss her heart.
    Look at verse 20.
    “When Martha heard Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at home.”
    Interesting, isn’t it? I think the writer made sure he mentioned it was Martha who ran to Jesus. She didn’t stay back doing housework like before. She was the one who ran to Jesus and it was Mary who stayed at home entertaining all the mourners who had come to visit.
    He wasn’t a dead Christ who couldn’t feel her pain and frustration and who wasn’t able to respond to her questions.
    No, He was alive and loving and able to meet her needs. And, He declares to the breathless Martha as she arrives at his feet some of the most beautiful words he ever spoke, “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.”
    And then Jesus had a question of his own for this lady so full of questions. He asked, “Do you believe this?”
    I think her answer made Jesus smile. She said, “Yes, Lord. I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
    I know you have questions just like Martha, but be sure you also share her answer. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and because He is, you can trust Him with every question of your life.
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