This article was written by my good friend Edward Anglin. When I saw this note he posted on Facebook, I loved the heart of it and knew I had to have it on my blog. Thank you Edward for letting me post this here on my blog.
John 11:6, 17, 21, 32, 39 KJV
“When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.”
What do you do when your situation is bleak, and hope lays helpless, slowly and surely dying right before your very eyes? What do you do when the name of Jesus becomes more than just the name of a Friend, but a whispered prayer of agony?
What do you do when God doesn’t show up on time? When your dream dies because He doesn’t even make an appearance? When everything you see, and everything you hear, tells you He’s just not coming? How do you cope with the horror of watching what you love slip away, all the while knowing it could have been spared if only the Great Physician would have showed up on time?
Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus, informing Him that their brother, Lazarus, was sick and then they waited patiently for the Lord to come. They had every reason to believe that He WOULD come. Lazarus was one of His best friends and Jesus had spent many hours with he and his sisters.
Think of it, if Jesus was going to heal anyone, He would surely heal His friend. But hour after hour passed, and there was no sign of the Lord.
To be sure, Mary and Martha weren’t the first to wonder where God was when they needed Him.
I imagine Joseph wondered as much when He was thrown in a pit, and then in a prison. I imagine Abram felt the same way when he was childless in a desert place while years turned into decades and decades turned into a lifetime of unfulfilled promises. Surely Moses must have felt abandoned on the backside of a desert, far from the palace of Egypt, and forty years from the place to which God would eventually lead him.
In each of these situations, those who felt abandoned must have questioned the promise of God, the purpose of God, and the providence of God.
Both Mary and Martha, after Jesus finally arrived on the scene, wondered at His delay. “If You had been here, he would not have died.”
“Where were you, Lord? Where were you when I needed you most? Why the delay? You didn’t care enough to save a friend?”
Later, when Jesus finally arrived on the scene and asked them to roll away the stone, Martha questioned if He truly understood what had happened. “Lord, he’s been in the grave four days. He stinks. You obviously don’t understand my situation.”
How many times have we prayed “God, you don’t understand!” and “How could you let this happen?”
Even though it seemed all hope was gone and the time for miracles had passed Jesus was working in this situation. Though they didn’t understand, and hope seemed hopeless, God was preparing one of His greatest miracles.
Time, sickness and death are no match for our Jesus. Doubt and unbelief flee from His presence.
Even when we do not understand God’s timing, or His ways, He’s still working for our good.
God sees, and God cares.
Hundreds of years earlier, on Mt. Moriah, as Abram prepared to kill the very promise that it had taken so long to receive, an agonizing refrain must’ve replayed over and over in his mind.
- “God, I love You more than I love Your promises.”
- “I love You more than I love my answer.”
- “I love You more than I love my dreams.”
And at that point, as Abram chose the person of God over the promises of God, he won the greatest victory of his life. Resurrection took place right before his very eyes. His son, Isaac, who was as good as dead, was restored to life.
Hundreds of years later, Mary and Martha watched, as the stone was rolled away, and Jesus proved, once again, that He holds the power of resurrection in His hands. In that moment, they understood what Jesus had been trying to tell them – with God, all things are possible.
It’s never too late for a miracle. Hope against hope. Trust in God. Dream on.
God sees and God cares.
Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life…”
He resurrects sick bodies, sick souls and dying dreams.
Don’t give up on God. Your eyes may tell you that you are alone and that your situation is helpless but God has been, and still is, working for your good.
Written by: Edward Anglin