John 11:21 - Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."
I wonder what Lazarus thought of it. He was very ill—his sisters were worried, and they sent word to Jesus so He could come quickly and heal him. Then they waited. And waited.
I can just see Martha leaning out the door of her house, looking down the road. Why didn't Jesus come?
John tells us, "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that Lazarus was ill, He stayed two days longer in the place where He was" (John 11:5-6). A strange way to show love! You love someone, so you avoid helping them right away? What kind of God is that?
And yet it's true, isn't it? We have a God like that. We see people who have been in the Christian faith for years and years—people whose characters have been shaped by Jesus, who are clearly walking closely with Him—and they are the ones whose prayers seem to go unanswered. They suffer. They grieve. They go through loss. What is the reason for this?
We don't have the answers we want. But in the case of Lazarus, at least, we have a clue: Jesus' words, "This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it" (John 11:4).
Jesus must have really trusted Lazarus and his family. What a test of faith they went through! Perhaps this is why John makes a point of saying that Jesus loved them. You don't place that kind of burden on anybody but those you know and love with all your heart. Those you are close to—they are the ones you ask the most of. You trust them. You have the hope that they will trust you.
We know the end of this story—that Jesus raised Lazarus, and many came to faith because of him. We don't often see the result of the suffering in our own lives. But like Lazarus, we trust that Jesus cares, and is going to use it for good. Somehow. Some time. Some way.
Because He loves us.
THE PRAYER: Lord, we often don't understand what You are doing or why. Help us to trust in You and to endure the times when we don't understand. Amen.
When did you do something your loved ones couldn't understand?
When have your prayers seemed to go unanswered?
When you suffer, how do you keep trusting in Jesus?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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