Sometimes, I like reading the Message version of the Bible. The more I read it, the more I like it. Though there is much further depth provided in reading the original translation and looking into the original meanings of the words, I think the Message is in many ways what God intended…A way to read His words in a very understandable and tangible way.
As I read John 11 today, I was struck by something Jesus said that I hadn’t put much thought into before…especially because the Message version really made it alive to me.
As Jesus announces to his disciples that Lazarus died, he told them, “I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go get him.”
WOW – that was such a HUGE statement to me.
How many times in our life we are crying that God hasn’t come to our aid? Just like Mary, we tell Him that if He had only been there, such and such would NOT have happened.
Jesus did not come to the aid of one of his best friends… Lazarus wasn’t just an acquaintance. He received the report that one of his best friends was dying and decided not to journey to his bedside. He stayed where he was, attending to whatever was in his schedule for the time.
We often feel like we are dying as we call out to Jesus and “send Him word” of our situation. It can feel like He is ignoring us. It can seem that He is standing by doing nothing. And this verse made me realize something… Sometimes He is! Sometimes He is not answering our call at all.
Growing up, we were taught in church that God always has an answer. It could be Yes, No, or Later. However, with Lazarus, he simply did NOT respond at all.
He did not do this because He didn’t care. John clearly expresses that after Jesus came to see Lazarus, He wept upon seeing the tomb where Lazarus lay. What love Jesus had for Lazarus, yet He was willing to allow Lazarus to go through death so that His glory might be shown.
I wonder how many times Jesus must weep for us as we go through our sickness and pain. His compassion is so deep and wide that as He stands aside for a time, He weeps with us. Oh, my child…How I love you….But I am glad for your sake that I didn’t do as you asked. It is all for My glory. Just wait and see. You will be given new grounds for believing.
And His glory was shown! He rose Lazarus from the dead and not only Lazarus saw the glory of God, but also the many witnesses present at the time of this miracle. What could have been a simple healing from sickness became the catalyst for many coming to Christ.
If we can only wait. If we can only suspend our checklist of what we expect and when we expect it. If we can only see that Jesus is standing aside for the purpose of His glory to be shown to MANY… Then we would see His glory shine! We would see Him place His mark on the situation and bring everything into perfect order and peace. WE WOULD BE GIVEN NEW GROUNDS FOR BELIEVING! New faith arises! Others see this faith and are drawn to Christ! If we can only trust His heart and wait on His hand to do His work, we would see His glory for ourselves!!!
Philippians 1: 6 “…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Do we trust Him?