09 October, 2013

HIS ways are not our ways

I have been studying John 11 recently.  It is a fascinating story of how JESUS did things versus how we expect him to do things. Start in verse 1 "Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha." Verse 3 says "Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”" So they came and told JESUS that Lazarus was sick. Likely they expected JESUS to head that way and heal Lazarus.  They probably had faith/trust/confidence/hope that if JESUS arrived and Lazarus was still alive he would heal him and everything would be OK.  We know from verse 5 "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus." that JESUS loved them and wanted to help.  Then check out my favorite verse 6 "So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was."  Wait a minute, we know JESUS loved Lazarus because the previous verse told us so.  Why is he acting like he doesn't care?  How could he do that?

So JESUS takes his time going back to Bethany.  By the time HE gets there Lazarus has been dead 4 days.  Martha hears HE is coming and comes out to meet HIM, they have this conversation in verses 21-27 "Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. “But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”" So Martha still has a little hope that everything will be OK, but even after JESUS tells her what he is going to do she isn't sure she understands him, it doesn't fit her understanding of the world.

So now JESUS and Martha are walking to the tomb, Mary hears that JESUS has come and runs to meet him.  Verses 32, 33, 35-37 "Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?”"  So JESUS didn't get in a hurry when they called him.  Now, he is on his way to the tomb. HE has already told Martha what HE is going to do.  But HE stops on the way to weep for someone HE knows will be alive in a few minutes.  HE shared their grief right before HE ended their grief.  Other people believed JESUS could have healed Lazarus but thought it was too late now.

When HE gets to the tomb HE asks Martha to have them remove the stone, Martha objects; but then obeys because she knows she can trust HIM even though HE came too late, after her brother died.  HE then calls Lazarus out and he walks out alive.

Several things stick out to me in this story.
1.  HIS time schedule not the same as ours.  HE intentionally waited two days for Lazarus to die and start decomposing.  That didn't make sense to them and still really doesn't make sense to me, but I know it was done on purpose and not accidentally.
2. It is only too late when HE says it is too late.  They had seem HIM heal hundreds of people; but no one expected HIM to raise a dead man, that had never been done before.
3. When it seems like he is coming too late that doesn't mean he doesn't care.
4. HE cares and will weep with us when it is time to weep, then take away the need to weep.  I would much rather HE prevent my weeping, or at least fix it first.  But that is not always the way HE does things.
5. When you are in a bad spot and things look hopeless, know that HE cares and wants to fix it.  Even when we can't see a way, HE can see things that we can't.
6. We can trust HIM even when we don't understand, or don't see anything changing.

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