During the events of the past week I found myself touched by the story of Lazarus. Maybe not because of the obvious reason of Lazarus being raised from the dead but to the reaction of Mary and Margret and the Jews. That is one of the things I love about reading the Bible. Depending on what you are experiencing, different parts of the Bible will speak to you. I believe that even as some of you read this story you may be drawn to a different verses. There are so many aspects to this account of Jesus' life you could write 10 journal entries and although it is one of the more widely known stories in the Bible, I suggest when you read it you avoid the temptation to skip or read over parts you "know." Read it has if it is your first time to read the verses and you will find yourself drawn to parts of the story you may not have thought about.
28And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. "The Teacher is here," she said, "and is asking for you." 29When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34"Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied. 35Jesus wept. 36Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" 37But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?"
The past week I did not understand what we were going through or why we were going through it. Andrea came home from the chemo on Monday and seemed excessively tired. She basically slept until Friday afternoon. Not only was she sleepy, she was very groggy, her speech was weak and hard to understand and she just could not keep her eyes open. She was also having several other symptoms, shortness of breath, severe stomach pains, and swelling of her left hand. It was all so unexpected since Andrea has never had these side effects when she took the drugs in the past. So I had, as maybe some of you did as well, some unanswered questions. Why was Andrea having to go back on chemo? Why did our prayers seemed unanswered? It was these thoughts that led me to John 11.
Remember they had sent for Jesus when Lazarus was ill, knowing Jesus had healed others and would surly come to someone He loved. So as I read this verse I related to the questions being asked and the unspoken words between the lines. Maybe I was just projecting my own thoughts between the lines but Mary and Martha were human like me and I'm sure felt some of the same thoughts as we all would in that situation. Lord, if you had been here, I could relate to the confusion in their words and the underlying disappointment, anger, that Jesus did not do for someone He loved what He had done for others. As humans we have expectations or an understanding of what love involves and delaying until Lazarus died did not make sense in their minds. Much like myself tyring to understand why Andrea was in such pain no matter what I prayed. It was as if I just could not find the words to connect to God. Did He not care, nor just not hear? The only obvious answer I could see to my prayers was for Andrea's pain to stop, and her body to be healed instantly. If later then why not now?
I was also drawn to the reaction of the Jews who commented, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?" I just know Mary and Martha heard these comments, and probably began to ask the same question as doubt creeps in the door of misunderstanding. That's what happens when we look to man's knowledge to try to understand God's ways. The two do not equate and seemed to contradict each other.
Jesus knew the result of His delaying coming to Lazarus and He even told the Disciples why, "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. He even told Martha up front, "Your brother will rise again." Jesus knew this had to play out and Lazarus had to die for God's will to be done. They just had to trust. I think Jesus displayed His love for them in His grief over their sadness.
33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
In the end Mary and Martha and those around them were drawn into a deeper faith and understanding of Jesus.
This is what spoke to me this week. I did not understand why but being given the benefit of having the Bible, God's account of Jesus' life to help me I knew I just needed to trust. God may have seemed silent to me this week but that is only because I was listening with human ears and not my spirit. I'm not saying I expect the same events to play out in our life as this account, but the same heart of God is with us. The same love for us.
This week I learned again it was a time to trust. It was a time to know the character of God and quiet my questions. God is faithful and as we all know sometimes His timing and our timing are not the same.
Websters Dictionary defines faith as a firm belief in something for which there is no proof : complete trust.
God used the events of this week to remind me to walk by faith and not by sight.