My life right now feels like the story of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. There are moments in life where things we go through allow us to truly understand a passage in the Bible. The story of Lazarus can be found in John 11: 1-44. I am Marie or Martha and my circumstances are like Lazarus, and at this point they look more like the part where he has been dead and buried for 3 days (but in my case 3 days representing months). After the death of Lazarus, Marie and Martha knew Jesus will show up at some point but they may have had no hope that He will perform a miracle, only an assurance that He will come and mourn with them. Perhaps, they believed in a miracle before Lazarus died, but not after. They might have thought that at least He reigns over diseases but certainly not over death? Or maybe they believed He could raise Lazarus from the dead but it was not part of His plans? I am sure they thought of many other things…ranging from doubts to faith and then it is repeated in that order.
When we go through the same circumstances (not always literally as in the case of the death of a loved one) we have an advantage. We have access to the story of Lazarus and we know how it ends. We can confidently ask the Lord to repeat the same miracle over our circumstances. We can expect a miracle no matter how impossible it may look.
As I read the story again (I encourage you to do so as well), I think about how it can be similar to our lives. Again, here I am taking the story in a metaphorical way and not talking about a literal death of a loved one (It can still happen in a literal death of a loved one)! The first few verses depict that the sisters sent words to Jesus and said …“Lord the one you love is sick”. Sometime, when we are at the beginning of an impossible situation, we still have hope that it’s not too late for God to intervene. Like the sisters, we call out in prayer: “Lord, I, your beloved, I need help right now, would you show up and fix my circumstances”. Then in case He doesn’t stay silent like in the story of Lazarus, He will answer: “Your situation will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Subsequently, hope arises again and you think, He said it, it surely won’t end in death. Thus like the sisters, you are pretty sure that Lazarus will not die, that Jesus will certainly show up before he dies and save the day.
However, what you don’t know yet is that Jesus will do the following “So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,”. He will even make sure to help you remember that He loves you: “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” We find comfort in Him when He reminds us of His amazing love for us. The cool part is that Jesus knew when Lazarus died, in fact He knew Lazarus will die before He said what we read above. But he doesn’t call it death, he says it’s just a sleep…“Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
In the meantime, perhaps your hope has decreased, not necessarily your hope that Jesus will show up but just the hope that something can still be done about your situation. I mean, it’s all dead and buried at this point. Therefore, all Jesus would do is comfort you when He comes. Which He does as well, He comes and comforts you and mourns with you: “Jesus wept”. Right here, friends and people around you would tell you things that range from: “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” to “well it’s all going to be okay”. You even attempt to tell Jesus how impossible the situation is at this point and you think: “God you are late but it’s okay because I have moved on anyways and I still trust and believe in your goodness God, which is all that matters”. And then Jesus tells you a strange thing : “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”. And to your surprise (or not), He raises Lazarus, He raises your circumstances and turn them into possibilities…right in front of you!
My favorite part of Jesus raising Lazarus is how he started with: “Father, I thank you that you have heard me”. He had such a confidence in the love of the Father for Him. And this is one of the journeys Christ takes us as well. Where we recognize that Christ came to live and die and live again for us and as us. The place where we learn to look at our circumstances and give thanks that God hears us and performs the promises that He himself has given us ahead of time regarding the seemingly impossible situations in our lives. “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”Mathew 19: 26. So we take a deep breath, give thanks and speak confidently and loudly like Jesus did and we shout: “Lazarus, come out!” and the rest becomes history and a testimony, your testimony that gives glory to God.