“When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem, and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss. When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reading the book of John. Can’t really tell you why God has had me there, but I’ve been gleaning so much truth! The other night, I read this passage and it stuck with me.
If I work backwards, let me tell you this story. Jesus was with His disciples and someone came to tell Him that His friend Lazarus was sick and about to die. Jesus refuted the messenger and told him although Lazarus was sick, his sickness wouldn’t end in death. But instead of Jesus rushing and performing a miracle, He stayed where He was. Jesus, the miracle worker, didn’t move.
Can I pause for the cause? There are times in my life when everything looks like it’s falling apart. I call on Jesus, and He assures me that things will work out. But then He doesn’t move. Like seriously? Seriously Jesus?!? How are things supposed to work out if You don’t move? It’s frustrating!
Back to the story. Jesus stayed where He was for two additional days. He tells the disciples that Lazarus had fallen asleep. The disciples were confused. They said to Jesus “Okay. So He’s fine. Let’s just go wake him up then!” They didn’t realize that when Jesus said that Lazarus was asleep that he was really dead. Waiiiiiiit!!!!!!! Jesus said that Lazarus’ sickness wouldn’t end in death. But he died. That seems like death to me, Jesus! Ever had God tell you something, but the exact opposite thing happened?
Now here’s the point of the story where we jump in. By the time Jesus made the two day journey to Bethany where Lazarus and his sisters lived, Lazarus had been dead for four days. Many Jews believed that the soul stayed near the body for three days. By day four, the person who had died was really dead. There was no turning back at that point! So now, Jesus, the miracle worker, the only one remotely close to being able to salvage the situation, the one who promised that it wouldn’t end in death, was seemingly in a predicament. They were out of time and out of options.
Many times, Martha gets a bad rap. She’s generally remembered as the busy sister. She’s the sister that overlooked who Jesus was in order to keep working. She’s the one that we all think was foolish because she didn’t fawn at Jesus’s feet, but she complained to Him about her sister. She’s the one who we all think just didn’t get the importance of Jesus.
But I don’t think this was the case.
In this account, I feel like Martha a whole lot. She had lost her brother. She had lost something near and dear to her. Even though they sent word to Jesus, He didn’t show up in time. He delayed and all hope seemed lost. Martha said to Jesus “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.” I’ve been like that before. Jesus, if only you would have stepped in I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity. God, if only you would have saved me from myself, I wouldn’t be dealing with this mess. Lord, if only you would have helped me, I could be further along in my life. God, if only you wouldn’t have called me to this, I wouldn’t be dealing with debt and facing this trouble!
Lord, if only!
But it’s Martha’s next statement that keeps ringing in my heart. “But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” John 11:22b
You see, Martha knew something. Although Jesus wasn’t there in the moment of Lazarus’ death, she had faith enough in who Jesus was to know that He was able to fix what seemed like a hopeless situation. She knew that Jesus was able to come through in a desolate situation. She knew that Jesus could bring to life what everyone else thought was dead. She knew that Jesus had direct access to the Father and that He would be able to accomplish the impossible.
We must be more like Martha. She faced the reality of the situation, yet she trusted God. She hoped against hope. Had faith in the dark times. She knew beyond reasonable doubt that if anyone could resurrect her brother, that Jesus could.
I don’t know what you’re facing right now that it seems like it has died. Situations that seem like there is no hope for them. But just like Martha, trust Jesus. Trust that He can and He will do it. Know that God is always right, and God is always for you. Hope against hope and watch Him do the miraculous in your life!
What areas are you fighting with? What are some scriptures that you use to help you keep the faith? Are there areas that you need prayer in? Leave a comment below! I want to hear from you!