(John 11:1-35 The story of Lazarus’s death and resurrection.)
When life is seeming to run you over with all the things that happen to us from illness to deaths, disasters and failures and many more things it can feel as though God does not care. Our prayers seem to fall on deaf ears and our troubles abound. Then I read these words in John 11:33 &35 &38- 33 “he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled,” 35 “Jesus wept,” 38 “Jesus, once more deeply moved.”
Does this sound like a God who does not care, who is deaf to our cries for help?
The Greeks had this idea that was popular that God had no emotions and did not want to be involved in the messiness of our lives. Humans were not of concern for him. Yet these three simple statements alone show us that they had a flawed concept of who God is and how very much he loves and cares for his own. Jesus feels compassion and sorrow. We already know that if one lost sheep is worth looking for and rescuing, he cares. (Matthew 18:12-14) & (Luke 15:3-7)
God’s love abounds to us, his care for us is tender and good. We may not be able to understand today the (why) of it all, but you can rest assured that a compassionate, loving God is heading it all up. He is sustaining you in ways that you do not even understand and know. He did not allow Lazarus to die to hurt Mary and Martha, he loved them, he loved Lazarus; he did it so that they would believe.
(John 11:14-15) “So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,
15 and for your sake, I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.”
In the story of Lazarus, Jesus purposely stayed away when he heard that Lazarus was ill. He heard upon his arrival of his death, although we know He already knew, nothing happens to us or for us without his stamp of approval. Jesus was not bothered by his death, he already knew what he would do, and even knowing he was moved with compassion for the pain of his friends. His love for them caused him to feel compassion. So, understand, he knew Lazarus was dead, had allowed it to happen, already knew he would raise him to life and still hurt for his friends. His plan unfolding… Their broken and confused heart broke his. Is that not beautiful?
We serve a God who hangs the stars out at night, created all we see, died and rose again, plans our steps, our hurts, our pains, our joys, and journey, yet still feels for us when we hurt, when we bow our heads and ask the hard questions, maybe even accusingly. I love this. Knowing that my Lord and Savior feels my pain. It helps me to be raw and honest before him. It causes me to lean in close and wait to see what he will do, it makes me excited that after the storm has passed the sun will shine again in my life and yours. He will not waste the time in the valley and he will get us to another mountain top at some point all the while growing our faith as we traverse this barren land.
This event I am sure marked a turning point for not only them but all those who were watching that day. Can you imagine the scene? I would love to look back in time and watch it unfold. To look into pain-filled eyes and see joy shining back at me. I would love to see the tears my Lord shed for those he loves, just thinking about it makes my heart and mind smile. It causes me to sit back and wait, to rest in his goodness and compassion, knowing that when I hurt he cares. When I cry God takes notice.
Rest assured my friends, the same Jesus that walked into that death scene is already in yours. The sad music may be playing and the pain may be mounting, but God sees, God is moved and God can and will sustain you. And as he works in and around you your faith is made stronger even in the middle of whatever is causing the pain right now.