In the Darkest Days

There are so many points that could be made from John chapter 11. Yet, in verses 39 and 40 we have a specific appointment with God as did Mary and Martha. Martha made a complaint to Jesus and his reply is the essence of what it means to trust God.  It was a hard lesson of her and her sister Mary to learn while their brother lay in his new grave. These three were friends of Jesus, but it seemed that Jesus let them down when he did not come quickly as they asked him. In their eyes if Jesus would have come when he was supposed to, he could have healed Lazarus and prevented him from dying. Not in their wildest dreams did they ever conceived that their brother would be brought back to life from the dead right before their eyes.

This calls forth the need for how important it is to trust God. The baby that was thrown in the air and caught by his father would never think that his father would not catch him. This is absolute trust without any question. It may seem that we have been thrown into the air, but as adults and as Christians, somehow we allow doubt to creep into our lives. Circumstances occur which may be overwhelming to us. That which might seem promising may suddenly no longer have its promise. That which seems wonderful suddenly is no longer wonderful. It is hard to put all this together and relate to Jesus as the baby who was thrown in the air and caught by his father.

Yet, as Jesus said to Martha, believe that you will see the glory of God. Jesus still asks us to trust him in the darkest of days and the loneliness of times. He says to believe, to trust him and we shall see the glory of God in our life regardless of whatever happens from day to day, sadness to challenge; he asks us to trust anyway.

What makes it difficult for us to trust God? The answer to our problem may not be available. God may not have told us the why and wherefore that hardship occurs. We just experience and God expects us to trust. Situations may not be logical and ones which we cannot think through. It might be that, after all is said and done, the logic seems so obvious. Being caught by the father as we fall back to earth may not be in sight. We hang in the air momentarily and then begin to return by the grasp of gravity. We ask ourselves will we really be caught? Then the circumstance may not be positive while we are trying to trust. In fact, the experience itself, let alone the result, may not be positive. We were engulfed by the negativity of our lives.

God expects us to be patient. We tell him that we are willing to do that. Yet, our patience is stretched out further and further and still we do not see the answer. Keep in mind that Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus to come and he waited two days. Then it was a two day walk to where they were. That means that Lazarus was dead four days. Their patience was stretched beyond exaggeration over those four days. The exaggeration was so much because the need was so great. Our needs are measured in our human minds as small, medium, and large. And then there are times our needs are great. The more significant is our need the more we expect of God. It it is still the same patience and the same submission and the same trust that God expects and asks of us.

When Jesus arrived, they explained to him that he was too late even though they had seen him work miracles with other people. Sometimes the answers to prayers for other people do not register with us because it’s other people and not what we need. It is one thing to say that a certain person was healed or a certain amount of money came miraculously in the mail for other people. But what about us? What about the needs we have? Again, we must trust.

So why must we trust God anyway? This is regardless of any logic for any need or any patience required. It is simply we must trust anyway regardless of who is involved for how serious it is and what the potential tragedy may be. We must trust God because he is in charge no matter what. He is not a visiting salesman that comes to our door and offers to give a prize if we buy something with our trust. He was always present and always available. God is never not in charge. Whatever the matter maybe he is still always in charge. That means that he knows what is best. In the case of Lazarus’ death, Jesus said that he allowed it to happen so God may get the glory. In retrospect anyone would say God can do what he wants by him getting the glory. However, that’s not necessarily true as we walked through the valley of the shadow of death.

Because God is who he is, he does not need anyone’s advice. Martha and Mary attempted to instruct him for what he should have done. But that was not on the agenda of Jesus. He did not need anyone to tell him what to do. Even when he was a two day walk away with his disciples, he did not need the disciples to advise him or remind him. He only explained to the disciples the circumstances because he wanted them to see God’s glory and the power available. He wanted them to see that God has no limits. It would be so great for spiritual growth if we could convince ourselves that God has no limits and that he understands our needs or wants or hurts or wishes or plans and our desires. He is not aloft to our heartbreaks and our disappointments, is not a distant God that sits back to watch how we squirm. He is very much attuned with us. He knows our needs, he even knows what we want. When we hurt, he knows that when we make plans and they do not fulfill themselves, he knows that when we desire something and it has not materialized, he knows that.

In Deuteronomy 32:10 God reminds the Israelites that they were the apple of his eye. They wondered 40 years in the wilderness and he never took his eye off them. He never turned his back on them. He always had a passion for their best interest. He says to us, “if you are floating in the air and begin to fall, trust me because I will be there to catch you.” What a connection we can have with God through trust!

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