Let the story of Lazarus challenge and encourage your faith during troubling days.
Lazarus, a close friend of Jesus, got sick and died. We read about this in John 11. Knowing Jesus well did not exempt Lazarus or his two sisters, Mary and Martha, from life’s griefs and sorrows. Nor does it exempt any of us.
As soon as Lazarus’ illness became life threatening, Mary and Martha sent for Jesus, expecting Him to immediately show up and heal His good friend. But one, two, three days had passed since he was laid in a tomb, and Jesus, the Great Physician, remained absent.
Only on the fourth day, did Jesus appear. Both Mary and Martha became distraught and said to Him, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When we read the narrative further, we discover that Jesus had bigger things in mind than another healing. “I am the resurrection and the life,” He said. “He who believes in me will live, even if he dies.” Then he did what they did not expect—He raised Lazarus from the dead.
Jesus’ resurrection of Lazarus from death prepared the way for His own resurrection, just days away, and the total defeat and humiliation of Satan, ending the power of death by which Satan kept us all in bondage.
None of this was on Mary’s and Martha’s minds. All they saw was what happened to their brother. They did not see the big picture. They counted themselves as good friends of Jesus (and they were), but they did not know Him as well as they thought they did. Jesus was moving them to trust Him in ways they never trusted Him before.
Jesus wanted Mary and Martha (and us) to trust Him for greater things beyond their (and our) present experience. Their faith (and ours) increases only when faith is enlarged through various trials. When Lazarus died, Mary and Martha stepped into unknown territory. Would they still trust Jesus when they reached the end of their comfort zones? Or was their faith (and ours) only a “fair weather” faith? Mary and Martha let their trial prepare them for God’s bigger purpose.
At this writing, we continue to live in troubling days. For many of us, it is a time when we are all well outside our comfort zones. Things seem to be getting worse, not better. For some of us, evil and death seem to have the upper hand. Many of us wonder—why is God taking so long to do something?
God always seems to take longer than we prefer, but He always works from a standpoint of love, relationship and faith. It is better to know that Jesus has power over death, not just that He can heal the living. He is getting us ready now for that greater thing.
Jesus is the same today as He was 2,000 years ago when He allowed Lazarus to lie for four days putrefying in a tomb. We may have ideas of what He should do now and become impatient when He doesn’t meet our timetables. But He always has more in mind than we do.
He who brought life to Lazarus will bring life to lost and dying men, women and children from every corner of India and the world. He will deliver them out of every form of spiritual and physical bondage and death.