Martha then said to Jesus, “ Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.
This verse is found in John chapter 11. The story of Lazarus. Have you ever gone through something and wondered if Jesus was aware of what you were suffering? You pray and trust, pray and trust, and then things get worse. It seems as if God just isn’t aware of you or your problem.
I read this chapter last night and can identify with Martha’s statement, If only you had been here. Why is that sometimes we get so impatient waiting on God to deliver us from a problem? Are we, or should I say Am I, so vain to believe that all I have to do is pray and God will act. Of course I believe that God hears our prayers, he knows our thoughts, and because of the suffering he endured on the way to the cross, I believe that He knows our pain. So how do I make sense of my life when things seem to be going so wrong? The answer is to study God and His word.
In reading this account of Lazarus, we find Mary and Martha. These were people that knew Jesus and loved Jesus. John identified Mary as the one who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair. Lazarus was her brother and he was sick. So they sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick. Jesus replied that this sickness was not to end in death, but for the glory of God so that the Son of God may be glorified by it. And he didn’t go to where Lazarus was and do anything. So often, we take sickness and trouble as though we are being punished. Here we find Jesus not doing something, but He also tells us why. The sickness Lazarus had was for the glory of God so that the Son of God may be glorified by it. Think about that for a moment. The problems you are facing may be just exactly like that, for the glory of God so that Jesus may be glorified by them. Of course we have problems that clearly come from decisions we have made or things we have done. But sometimes we face problems for no reason. Things just happen. It may be that we have been chosen to be used for God’s glory. That’s worth thinking about for a while.
Back to the story. We find out that Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus, but Jesus stayed where he was for two more days. He didn’t go see Lazarus. Then he said Lazarus was asleep and told His disciples that He was going to wake Lazarus up. The disciples said that if he had fallen asleep, he would recover. But Jesus meant that Lazarus was dead and He told them that he was dead. So Thomas said, let us go also so that we may die with him. So they went and when they got there, they found out that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Everybody was grieving and crying and trying to comfort Mary and Martha. Then in verse 20 Martha went to Jesus and said if you had been here my brother would not have died. She then said that she knew that whatever Jesus asked of God, God would give it. Jesus told her Lazarus would live again and she thought He was talking about the resurrection on the last day. Then Jesus told her that HE was the resurrection and that he who believes in Him would live EVEN IF HE DIES.
In verse 32 we find Mary coming to Jesus and saying the same thing. Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. Isn’t it weird how we blame God when things go wrong? The same God who loved us enough to die is the same God we tell, if only you had been here…….fill in the blanks. We totally miss the fact that God has a plan. A plan that we can’t see. Mary and Martha both knew Jesus, They knew that whatever Jesus asked of God, God delivered. They knew Jesus had power. They knew that if Jesus had walked into the room and said “Lazarus be HEALED”, then Lazarus would have been healed. I know they knew that because they kept telling Him If you had been here, Lazarus would not have died.
What did I get out of all this? First, just because Jesus did not come immediately, did not mean He wasn’t coming at all. Jesus waited until the time was right so that the unbelief of the people could be be changed to belief. Second, Jesus had a radically different view of Lazarus’s sickness than his sisters did. They only seen the bad, Jesus seen the glory. They seen the end, Jesus seen the beginning of faith for someone. Isn’t this how it is with God, His ways are above our ways and we can’t begin to understand the mind of God. Third, even though Mary and Martha knew His power, they limited it to their understanding of sickness and death. They knew that Lazarus would live again in the last days, but they never thought that Jesus could bring Lazarus back to life. Do we sometimes limit God’s power with our understanding of life and death? Do you reckon that we put God in a box and then think that we control when and how He can get out of the box dependent upon our actions?
God asks us to believe and trust. When we can’t see the answer, trust. When it looks dark, trust. They were concerned when Jesus said to roll the stone away from the tomb. Lazarus had been there four days and would be decaying and the smell would be bad. Jesus taught them that even though He wasn’t there when Lazarus died AND it didn’t make any difference where Lazarus was at or the condition Lazarus was in, Lazarus would live when Jesus said to. No matter what the circumstances are in my problems, they will be taken care of when God says it’s time. No matter how bad things look to me, they can and will be restored. I just need to trust and not limit God. I need to remember that just like Lazarus, my problems are nothing for God to handle. And just like Mary and Martha, I need to remember that God will come when the time is right. And He will be glorified in my life and problems if I believe in Him. And I do. DO YOU?