John 11:1-6: Tell Jesus.
“Now a man named Lazarus was ill. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay ill, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, ‘Lord, the one you love is ill.’4 When he heard this, Jesus said, ‘This illness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.’ 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed where he was two more days,” NIV
Jesus had people in His world who got sick (1) Such an experience isn’t unique to you and me. The Lord knows and cares and understands how it feels when you have those close to you who are suffering. Jesus, it seems, had such a special relationship with Lazarus, that the unwell man could be referred to simply as ”the one you love” (3). The fifth verse seems to underline Jesus’ love for each member of this family. It was a personal love for ”…Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” It is important that we, the readers, should grasp something of His heart for these dear three, because, superficially it could be appear that He was uncaring (6). But the Lord’s delays are not necessarily His denials.
The people written into the gospel story are real people (2). They are not pain free. They do not float on soft, fluffy white clouds, far above the rugged rigours of real life. The Bible shows that those with great love for Jesus are not thereby exempt from suffering. They are not inoculated against tears (33).This Mary had a great heart (2). It throbbed with immense love for Christ (2; see 12:3).But it was also a heart full of love for her nearest and dearest; a soft and tender heart I believe. How precious it is to know that we can tell Jesus (3). Whoever it concerns; whatever the need, tell Jesus. Bring to Him all the pain and sorrow and earnest desires of your heart. ”What a Friend we have in Jesus…Take it to the Lord in prayer.”
But sometimes, Jesus may allow things to happen in your life and mine where it may look like He doesn’t love us. We know the Word states that He loves us, ”Yet…” (6). There is a ”Yet” that comes into our experience, and we have to take it by faith that He loves us while life seems to proceed in an unloving-looking direction. In reading this story it’s important to see that Jesus didn’t say that Lazarus would not die, but that death would not be the end of the matter (4). If Mary and Martha (and Lazarus) looked for healing, they were not wrong to do so. But they got far more than they asked or thought (Ephesians 3:20).
If people say that sickness can not be for the glory of God, let them be educated by verse 4.
And if you are praying and waiting for an important answer to come through, and you’re wondering why it’s got held up on the spiritual A1, do take on board that God’s delays are not necessarily His denials. In fact, as Ronald Dunn writes, He ”sometimes answers later in order to answer better.”
Prayer: I confess, dear God, that I can become impatient. But I know I need to accept that your timescale is not the same as mine. You graciously answer my prayers, but it has to be your way not mine; and your time, not mine