Archive for August, 2011

REALLY, Jesus?

Posted: August 23, 2011 in Get Close to God

 Thirty-sixth in the series Get close to God

What if you were one of Jesus’ disciples who were with him in Judea when he almost got stoned and now he tells you this, “Let’s go back to Judea.”  I’d probably say what they did, “But Rabbi, a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?”  The next thing their leader said only confused them further, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”  OK, that makes perfect sense, Jesus, let’s risk our lives so we can wake up someone who will wake up anyway!

Jesus tried to explain, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there (to heal him,) so that you may believe.”

What would you think?  Really, Jesus?  This is getting more bizarre by the minute!  You want us to risk our lives to pay respects to someone you could have healed, but didn’t, so that we may believe?!  Mary and Martha were even more perplexed with Jesus.  They had sent word to him two days before: “Lord,” the messengers relayed, “the one you love is sick.”  Jesus told them, “This sickness will not end in death.”  They probably thought, “Hey, that’s cool.  I guess he’s going to cure him remotely, like he did the royal official’s son and the Centurion’s servant.”  I appreciate this method myself, since I do a lot of my work remotely as well!  But what happened?  Lazarus died.  Mary and Martha were crushed and felt let down, even betrayed.  “Lord,” Martha and Mary said to Jesus when he finally showed up four days later, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  

Of course, we now know what Jesus had in mind all along, which resulted in one of the most dramatic miracles of all time; Lazarus coming out alive, still wrapped up and looking like a mummy!

So, what does this scripture teach us?  We’ve already heard the lesson of God’s timing, as portrayed in the song, “When he’s four days late, He’s still on time.”  But there’s more here to learn.  I can relate to how confused the disciples and Mary and Martha were with Jesus.  Some times he doesn’t make sense to me, either.  Some things just don’t change, no matter how hard I pray.  I need to realize that God always answers my prayers.  It may not be when or how I want them answered, but it always eventually turns out for the best, and usually for my best.  But if not for me, then for someone else, or maybe just for the glory of God, and I need to be OK with that, because the world doesn’t revolve around me.  I wasn’t put here so everyone could make sure I was happy.

But don’t be too hard on yourself if you feel abandoned by God.  You’re actually in good company.  King David and even Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”  They didn’t understand it then, but they didn’t give up on their heavenly Father and he didn’t give up on them and he won’t give up on you.  Life can be hard, cruel, painful, sad, and lonely.  Sometimes it’s our fault, sometimes it’s not.  We can let it push us away from God or cling to him tighter.  It’s our choice.  God doesn’t enjoy seeing us suffer.  Jesus wept at Lazarus’ funeral and I can’t imagine how his Father felt when his Son underwent that horrendous execution.  But he allowed it because he knew there was no other way to save his other children that he loves so much.

Even if I am interceding for someone else, I need to put them and leave them in God’s capable and willing hands.  He’s trying to tell me, “Relax, I got this!”

The disciples went with Jesus that day, but not until after Thomas said to them, “Let us also go, so that we may die with him.”  How about that, in the midst of everyone thinking Jesus was losing his mind, it was good ol’ Doubting Thomas who came through!

So, instead of saying, “Woe is me!,” I should be saying, “As you wish, Lord.  Your will, not mine, be done.  I will trust in you, in spite of what I see, or can’t see… Really, Jesus.”

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