Sometimes you’re walking through life and it all makes total sense. A fall breeze is blowing and you’ve got your windows down and your favorite song is blasting on max volume.
And then there are times when absolutely nothing makes sense. You were minding your own business, but suddenly your legs were kicked out from under you, landing you flat on your behind wondering what in the world just happened.
How could your circumstances have changed so drastically within a 24-hour period? It’s a valid question and it’s one that I wish I had the answer to.
I’m sure Martha and Mary felt somewhat similar when they were just trucking through life in the quiet town of Bethany, enjoying being a part of this new movement called “the Way” that heralded Jesus of Nazareth as the long-awaited Messiah. When all of a sudden their beloved brother falls ill. And it’s not a “he’ll sleep it off and be better by tomorrow” sort of sick, but it’s evident that he has a life-threatening illness that requires immediate attention. They do some quick thinking and send word to their friend Jesus and ask Him to come on the double!
Jesus receives the message and this is His response: “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.” (John 11:5-6)
One of His very best friends is sick, SO He stays put? What kind of sacrificial love is that? That seems a little counterproductive, wouldn’t you say?
By the time Jesus gets there Lazarus is dead. Not just any kind of dead either, but dead-dead. Like four-day-old-stinking-in-the-grave dead. It’s bad. And Martha let’s Him know it.
Where have You been? If you would have been here, He would not be dead!
Adding to His mysterious behavior, Jesus replies in the most cryptic way. “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Umm, yes…I think I do. But my brother’s still dead and I’m beyond devastated.
To say that we believe when life is good doesn’t take much faith. But we have to be willing to ask ourselves this question when life throws us that inevitable curve ball.
Do I believe this?
Because believing Jesus is the truth is easy enough UNTIL…
your brother dies;
you miscarry that baby that you waited and prayed for;
your spouse confesses the unthinkable to you;
…THEN it’s personal.
But faith is believing EVEN IF…
your brother stays in the grave;
your arms remain empty;
your spouse refuses to come home;
…Trusting in His sovereign plan.
Jesus never said that life would be fair. In fact, He was perfectly straightforward when He told us that in this world we WILL have trouble, but we are to take heart because He has overcome the world! (John 16:33)
He is still the Resurrection and Life, EVEN IF life does not work out the way we thought it would.
Jesus eventually kept His promise to raise Lazarus from the dead with the purpose that God would be glorified through the act (take time to read this incredible story in John 11 if you aren’t familiar with the details). Both Martha and Mary received their miracle that day when their brother was resurrected and reunited with them. However, this was not the case for my sister and me. Why did God allow Lazarus to live and Jeremy to die? This is a question that I have often pondered and I still do not know the answer to. Nevertheless, I had a choice to make, just as you do.
When He says that He is the Resurrection and the Life and He then asks me, “April, do you believe this?” I answer Him wholeheartedly:
Yes, Lord. I believe You are the One who holds the resurrection power.
I believe You are the only Way to eternal life.
I believe You are the Truth.
(“Even If” by Mercy Me)