Message: As I read John 11 I really paid attention to what was going on with Mary. We previously read how Martha was caught up in serving and was frustrated with Mary for sitting at the feet of Jesus instead of helping. When Martha complained to Jesus and asked him to instruct her to help, Jesus had told Martha that she was doing the best thing and he would not take that from her. Now here we are a few chapters later and their brother Lazarus had died. They had put the word out to Jesus, and Jesus stayed where he was for two more days before starting the journey there, so when he got there Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. When Jesus came into town, it was Martha who ran to greet him, but Mary heard he was there and remained sitting in the house. It’s not that Martha wasn’t upset with Jesus. She came boldly toward him with her accusation that if he had only been there sooner he wouldn’t have died. Her expectations were not met and she was not hiding it. Mary, on the other hand, withdrew and stayed inside when Jesus showed up. It was not until he called for her that she got up and ran to him.
Command: It’s ok to not understand when things don’t go the way I expect them to, but that is not the time to withdraw from Jesus. I need to run toward him with all of the hurt, but then allow him to speak to me about it.
Promise: I may not understand what God is doing or allowing un my life, but if I run toward him instead of withdrawing from him he will show me things I would have never known were possible.
Warning: If I withdraw from Jesus in my disappointment, I miss the opportunity to lean in close and learn what he is doing in my life. Instead I could be sitting in my place of pain, confusion and withdrawal for a long time with no more understanding.
Application: I actually saw myself in both Mary and Martha in this story. There are times I have run to Jesus just like Martha did and voiced all of my hurt and anguish and found comfort in understanding that I don’t have to understand, but he will comfort me. I found it interesting and beautiful that he wept with them before he performed this incredible miracle. He grieved with them because of his compassion for them even though he KNEW what he was about to do. I have also been Mary who got caught up in the disappointment that things did not go the way I had hoped they would. Not only were my expectations not met, but it seemed like a permanent situation with no possibility of turning around. Mary and Martha had expected to see Jesus HEAL Lazarus to PREVENT his death, and when it didn’t happen they were devastated because they had never fathomed the idea that he would be resurrected. Even as I write this I realize that not every story is a Lazarus resurrection kind of story. The point here is that Jesus had a plan here that nobody thought was possible. He cares about our pain and our disappointment but he wants us to trust him during the vulnerability of our pain and disappointment so that he can work miracles in our lives.