Updated: Sep 4, 2019
We are all familiar with the story of Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. You can read it in John chapter 11. Lazarus, who Jesus loves (v3), is ill. His sisters send for Jesus, knowing that He can heal Lazarus. Instead of leaving immediately for Bethany, Jesus intentionally stays put for another two days. Lazarus passes away, leaving behind a grieving family and some questions of Jesus’ whereabouts in the situation.
Jesus meets the two sisters separately, four days later, as He nears town with Martha being first. We already know how outspoken she can be (read Luke 10:38-42) as she scolds Jesus for being late. Verse 21: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” I imagine that to sound more like, “If You had come the first time I called, my brother would still be alive and I wouldn’t be going through this right now!”. She tells Jesus she knows He can still fix this, yet objects in verse 39 when He tells the guys to “take away the stone” from the opening of the tomb. Like, girl, make up your mind what you want!
Mary’s approach to Jesus is quite different than her sister’s. She has been grieving at home when Martha tells her “Jesus is looking for you”. In her broken state, she sprints in the direction of Jesus, falls down at His feet and says the exact words in verse 32 that Martha said in verse 21 about his delay. The difference is the heart behind it. How do I know? Mary’s plea troubled Jesus to the point of tears (verses 33-35).
A few weeks ago, I stood on the stage listening to our lead vocalist recall this story leading into a song. I had secretly been dealing with feelings, some of which I was too embarrassed to tell even my closest people. As Katy said last week, people like to flaunt their “highlight reel” on social media. Watching those amplified the lies that the devil was trying to convince me of. My personality changed from the one who encouraged others and made everyone laugh to this withdrawn person who hated life. I would cry bitterly when no one was watching, acknowledging my faults and almost demanding God to HELP me out of the “hole” I was sinking in. When life got worse instead of better, I started putting up a guard towards God.
“You are working in everyone else’s life, so why not mine? I know I have done wrong in the past but so has everyone else...”
“Everyone else is getting what they want in life, why can’t I?”
“Lord, why won’t you heal me of these feelings already?! Why am I affected by all this and the person who offended me is not?!”
I prided myself that I had mastered a smile to mask what was killing me on the inside. I would be completely exhausted at the end of the night from hiding what was wreaking havoc on my heart. But that night, I heard Jesus speak: “You’ve treated me like I’m four days late.” Wait, what? No, Jesus, that’s not true. I trust You (or at least I say I do from my lips). The thought made me tear up! “No, your actions are treating me like I’m four days late working in your life.”
I realized that I had the heart of Martha, demanding God for what I think He should be doing. God has a timetable and He’s sovereign enough not to consult with us first! We all should have the heart of Mary, humbly broken as we seek the Lord for his presence. What if the only way God can get you to communicate with Him is to remove whoever, leave whatever or fix it whenever He sees fit?
Your weight may look different from mine but the feeling is the same. And, so is the healing! Lazarus’ name means “God is my help”. That being the case, do you really think God wasn’t going to send help? If He did it for Lazarus, He will rescue you from what’s “killing” you as well. No person of the opposite sex, no how-to book, no new house or car, nor a job promotion will call the “death” out of you like the voice of Jesus will. Instead of focusing on the answers, focus on the one giving the answer.