One of the most difficult experiences to endure in this life is the feeling of helplessness that comes upon us when a dear friend or loved one has been chosen to endure a traumatic sickness or affliction. I was thinking of that situation recently when I read again the story of the death of Lazarus in the 11th Chapter of John. Lazarus, as well as his sisters, Martha and Mary, were very dear friends of Jesus and the Disciples. It is reasonable to assume that they were often fed, lodged, and entertained in this family’s home in Bethany.
Because of their special bond with Jesus, on a day when Lazarus was very sick, his sisters sent out this word to Him: “Lord, the one you love is sick.” (verse 3) Upon receiving the news, Jesus chose to stay where He was for two more days before going to Bethany. Knowing that Lazarus would die shortly thereafter and that He was going to later raise him up, He told His Disciples that Lazarus’ sickness would not end in death but in glory to God. Apart from that, He made it clear to them that what they would see at Lazarus’ tomb would also be for their benefit, namely strengthen their faith in Him.
Here is where the exasperating feeling I mentioned at the onset comes into the picture. It surely came upon Martha and Mary. They could not believe nor understand why Jesus did not come to Lazarus immediately. They saw and felt their brother’s suffering and there was nothing they could do about it. The biblical account suggests that their hearts were wounded by their Master’s actions up until the time that He raised their brother from the dead.
It is safe to assume that we have all, at one time or another, been wounded because a dear friend or loved one is going through an exceptionally hard trial and there is nothing we can do about it. We must never forget that God knows exactly why all this is happening and that He has a plan that will end with Him getting the glory. And just as it did with His Disciples, in the end our faith and our hearts will be strengthened as well when we see the end result. If you are going through that type of experience today, take heart. God is in the middle of something great and you will soon be a witness to it.
God’s promise for today: (Isaiah 43:2) “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”