The Future Is As Bright As The Promises Of God

Archive for August 17, 2014

Our Sorrow Does Not Impede God’s Power

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.
Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house. Martha then said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give you.'”
John 11:5-6; 20-22 (NASB)
When death threatens someone we love, every other concern in life is pushed back. Our field of attention is narrowed, and life as usual comes to a halt. Nothing seems so important as the health and safety of the one we love. It is natural for us to be protective. God made us that way, and it appears that we would be less than human if we did not drop everything else to rush to the aid of our loved one.
Mary and Martha made the mistake of assuming that Jesus would leave immediately and come to Lazarus’ side. Lazarus was Jesus’ friend. He had spent many hours in that home in Bethany. But Jesus’ relationship to Lazarus, though deep, was different from the relationship of Lazarus to his sisters. Among Mary, Martha, and their brother, there existed a bond of mutual dependence. This was why Mary and Martha thought Jesus should have come before Lazarus died.
Jesus was not indifferent to Mary’s and Martha’s request; others simply had claim on His time, too. The sisters thought that they knew what was best for their brother and for them, but they were mistaken. Jesus knew what would be best in the end. His delay was actually a blessing.
Many people think of God in one of two ways–a loveless Power or as a powerless Love. The way, however, God most meaningfully and truly revealed Himself was in showing His power in love.
God does not show Himself to be God by keeping us from suffering and death. He is no less a God of love because He permits us to suffer and die. He is no less a God of power because He allows the laws of nature to have their way with us. Since God is the Lord of the universe and our Lord, Paul’s question is relevant to all of us: “Who are you, O man, who answers back to God?” (Romans 9:20).
The fact is, we never give up answering back to God. We have no right to complain about what God lets happen to us. Yet, God permits us to complain. Sometimes the healthiest thing we can do is to pour out to God our bitterness. The prophets of God did it, and they were better in the long run because they trusted God enough and were honest enough to have it out with Him. Consider Habakkuk, for example, “How long, O LORD, will I call for help, and You will not hear? I cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ Yet You do not save. Why do You make me see iniquity, and cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; strife exists and contention arises. Therefore the law is ignored and justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice comes out perverted.” (Hab. 1:2-4)
When Martha met Jesus, she expressed both her faith and her bitter resentment. Sometimes this is the best kind of prayer. It is honest from both sides–our spirituality and our humanity.

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