“Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany… So [his] sisters sent to him, saying, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘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.’ 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.
“Jesus told [his disciples] plainly, ‘Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him…” Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days... Martha… went and met him… [and] said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died…’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again… I am the resurrection and the life.Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…’
Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ Jesus… was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled… Jesus wept. The Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’” John 11:1,3-6,14-15,17,20-21,23,25,32-33,35-36
“If Jesus loves me, then why…?” “Lord, if only… this wouldn’t have happened.” Our ways and thoughts are so much lower and more limited than our Lord’s! We wallow in earthly difficulties, emote with swinging passions, and tremble at hypotheticals, while the King of kings rules with calm, perfect precision, orchestrating His good and broader plans. Had Lazarus never fallen ill, everyone would have missed… (Isaiah 55:8-9)
The impossibility that only Jesus could solve. The display of His love. The recognition of Jesus as the Resurrection and Life. The experience of sorrow being turned to joy. And, as Jesus Himself foretold, God and His Son glorified in bringing about the miraculous visual aid of Jesus’s purpose on earth.
So, when we are dumbfounded at the bumpy turns in our lives, the impossibilities in hard relationships, the desolation and lack we imagine can never be filled, the conflict we imagine can never be resolved, look for Jesus’s love there. He is deeply and personally in our painful places. He brings us to more profound belief. He is near, and weeps with us. He opens our eyes to deeper truths. And He always brings new life, resurrection of heart and hope.
Jesus raised Lazarus back to life, and they were all able to love and rejoice and linger in person again. He would one day die again, but the glory, the life lessons, would remain. Jesus always does perfectly, righteously, and best. We may not understand or want to accept our circumstances, but in and through them He loves us and shows us facets of Himself we could not be familiar with otherwise. (John 11:38-44)
If He seems to be staying, withholding, not answering, would we look for how He loves us in the waiting? Would we discover His glory there? Would we choose to trust Him and His ways and ask for a richer understanding of the resurrection life?
Father, help me not only to trust Your steadfast love, but be eager and expectant about how You are glorified through that love in the world.