So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days. (John 11:5-6)
Read: 2 Kings 23:29-30, 2 Chronicles 35:20-27, Jeremiah 47:1 – 48:47, Zephaniah 2:8 – 3:20
Relate: “Help is not always helpful.” I am sure he wasn’t the only one to ever say this, but I heard that sentence near the end of a speech from Bill Milliken. He is most famous for a book he wrote back in the sixties called Tough Love. That two word title has become a catchphrase and it has been used over and over again since that time. I’m sure all of us have heard it plenty of times and we have each been both the giver and beneficiary of a little “tough love” at some point of time. Unfortunately what often masquerades as tough love is really no more than abuse. At other times saying someone needs to learn some “tough love” is an excuse to not help someone when we have the power (and moral responsibility) to do so.
I wonder if the sisters felt this way as Lazarus lay dying. He was desperate. Jesus could heal. Jesus loved them. Even though He did, he remained where He was. He didn’t come. The miracle worker didn’t show up. The Great Physician stayed his hand…
And Lazarus died.
React: Ever been there? I have. Well, I haven’t ever died but I have seen God do some amazing miracles both in my life and in the lives of friends and family. I know that God is still in the healing, the miracle business. Even though I have seen that and believe for it, I have also fallen to my knees desperately crying out for Him to heal… yet He stayed His hand. I can hardly continue writing as my mind is going over moments in time when even though Jesus loved, He stayed where He was. Where were You, God?!? My cry echoes that of Mary and Martha. You can heal. You do love. So why?
If only we could see the end from the beginning. If only we could fast forward to the moment where Jesus does arrive and tells Martha, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Better yet. Why can’t we zip forward to that moment in time when we hear Him say, “Lazarus… Nathan… Judy… Kathy… Ruth… Donnie… Jalit… Harlee… come forth.” Even though we do not see, even though we cannot understand, we know that in the end it will be worth it all. He knows what He is doing. He is in control. God is all loving. He is all powerful. The problem is that we are not all knowing.