We were sitting in our favorite chairs. I was sipping on a hot cup of tea and Chris had his usual glass of sparkling water. Sitting there and sharing stories about our day has become somewhat of a nightly tradition for us. A way to slow down time and spend it together, even if it’s just for a brief moment after our long and busy days. This Thursday night in particular has been tugging at my heart even weeks later, so here I am sharing with you what God has been overwhelming my heart with for over a month now. That night, somewhere in the midst of talk of music and puppies, Chris brought up a verse from the very story God kept waving in front of my face until it finally clicked; the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept.”
Rewind to two days earlier. I was sitting at my kitchen counter working on a Bible study on how Jesus is the only one who can truly satisfy our hearts. My small group had done the study earlier in the summer, but due to travels and general summer craziness I was weeks behind. The chapter that I was working on that week was focusing on John 11. The very same chapter that contains the verse that Chris shared with me two nights later. God is so good that way. When He wants to show you something and you don’t quite get it the first time, He’ll keep gently nudging you with it until you finally catch on.
John chapter 11
This chapter starts out with a message being delivered to Jesus from his dear friends Mary and Martha. They are explaining to him that their brother Lazarus is very sick. When Jesus received this news, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. He didn’t rush to the village where Lazarus and his sisters lived. He stayed.
Can we just take a second and try and imagine how Mary and Martha must have felt when they reached out to Jesus. They knew that He could come and make their brother well, and they believed with everything in them that He would. But He didn’t show up, and Lazarus passed away.
After two days of staying where He was, Jesus made His way to Mary and Martha. Growing up in the church and hearing this story many times, you would think I would know every detail of it by heart. For some reason though, the way that Martha met Jesus struck me differently this time. Probably because it’s the same way that I often meet Him; “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died”. If you would have come when I asked you to, things would be better. You could’ve changed this, but you didn’t. Why didn’t you show up?
Somehow in the midst of the pain Martha was feeling over losing her brother, she forgot who she was talking to.
The same way that I sometimes do when I subconsciously question God’s plan. This is JESUS we’re talking about. The same Jesus who can heal the sick by commanding them to be well. The same Jesus who turned water into wine. The same Jesus who performs countless miracles over and over again to this day.
Martha missed the picture. And a lot of times, so do I.
How often does God remind me of His promises and His faithfulness, yet I still question where the good is in His plan.
When Mary came out to meet Jesus, her response was almost exactly the same as that of her sister Martha. You see, Mary and Martha both knew that Jesus could’ve kept their brother from dying. They knew that He was all powerful and that no sickness was too great for Him to heal. Their faith in Jesus was so strong, but they couldn’t see past their pain and disappointment.
I think a lot of us could say the same for ourselves. I know I can. Our faith in Jesus is strong. We trust Him with everything in us and we know that He will take care of us and pull us through the trials we face. But for some reason when the healing doesn’t come as we had hoped, we lose sight. We forget that His plan is good, we forget that His plan is perfect, and we forget that He Is Faithful.
It’s easy to read this verse and assume that Jesus wept over the loss of his dear friend Lazarus. But as Lysa TerKeurst points out in her study Finding I Am, “Why would Jesus weep for someone He knew He was going to raise to life?”
Jesus wasn’t weeping over the loss of His friend. He was weeping because Mary and Martha had lost sight. They were heartbroken and disappointed in Him. They put all of their hope in Him, and when He didn’t show up and fix things in the way that they expected, they were devestated. He wept because they forgot who He was. He wept because He had a good, good plan for them, but they were so caught up in what He didn’t do at the time, that they forgot what He still could.
His plan all along was to perform a miracle and bring glory to His name. That’s why he waited for two days before returning to the place where Lazarus was. He allowed the pain and heartbreak Mary and Martha were faced with, so that He could show them how He can make broken things beautiful. He took something that seemed impossible to heal, death, and used it to glorify God and His great power.
In John 11:4 Jesus says “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of GOD, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”
How encouraging is it that Jesus tells us right in His word that our “sickness” will not end in death, but it will be used to bring glory to God! Sometimes it’s hard to see past the struggles we’re going through. It’s hard to trust that good will come when we’ve been waiting for so long.
No matter what sickness you’re facing right now, know that it will not end in death. God will bring you through this in order that Jesus Christ will be glorified!
Don’t give up hope.
Lazarus was dead for FOUR days before Jesus brought him back to life.
He is such a good Father, and His plan for us is perfect. His timing is perfect. And He will use every hard thing we face to bring Glory to His name.
Your sickness will not end in death. God won’t allow it to, as long as you trust in Him.