Thursday, May 24, 2007

Reflections on Mary, Martha, and Laz

Lazarus is dead. In fact he’s been dead four days or so when Jesus finally arrives. When Lazarus was sick, Jesus was told that he was. It wasn’t some head cold or allergy with which Lazarus was dealing. Folks wouldn’t have sent word to Jesus for that. No, Lazarus was severely ill, and Jesus had been summoned to heal him.

But Jesus hadn’t gone. He had tarried for a day or two before heading back to Lazarus. What he found when he arrived was two distraught sisters who lash out at him, accusing even, that his delay had resulted in Lazarus’s death. They were hurting, and so were a great number of their friends. The sisters even accost Jesus saying “If you’d been here, this wouldn’t have happened!” As if to say, “What took you so long!”

As it turns out, Jesus raises Lazarus and returns him to his family; there is much rejoicing. But through the story, we learn that Jesus knew Lazarus was terminal, that he was going to die, and He took his time getting back to Lazarus on purpose. In fact, God allows these three good friends to travel this road so that God can be glorified through the raising of Lazarus.

We find also that even though Jesus knew the plan and the eventual outcome, that this is to be a demonstration of God’s power, He is moved with compassion for the sisters. Even though it is God Himself who has sent this family through this valley, His heart goes out to them.

And so we see that God may well send us through experiences that are hard to bear, that we must endure. But when He sends us through them, He is with us; He feels for us. It can be that through our pain God will be glorified, and God is with us as we bear it.

He is near.

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