On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
â€œLord,â€ Martha said to Jesus, â€œif you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.â€…
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, â€œLord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.â€…
But some of them said, â€œCould not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?â€ John 11:17-22, 32, 37 (NIV)
â€œLord, if only you…â€ How often in my own life and as I read the world’s headlines have these words come to my mind!
I believe in God. He is the un-created One who created all. His power and authority cannot be compared and is absolute. In my human, finite mind it seems so logical that if you have the power to intervene in death and suffering â€“ you would!
Mary and Martha both saw only one option to God showing His love in this, the death of their brother. God would prevent it from happening. Why didn’t He?
Jesus wept. He did not weep out of grief. He knew Lazarus was about to be set free from his temporary tomb. I believe Jesus wept because His heart was touched by the pain of those weeping. As a nurse, tears would come to my eyes because someone would have to endure a procedure or surgery in order to correct some illness or injury. As a hospice nurse, I would come to the home when one of our patients died. Many times I would drive home, praying with tears in my eyes that God would comfort as only He can. My heart was touched by someone’s pain.
God is not some distant, unfeeling deity who watches our pain and feels nothing. But He sees farther than today and even this life and restrains His immediate intervention in order to guide us to His eternal reward He has for us.
Today in this Holy Week, I am considering the â€œLord, if only’s…â€ in my life and I am seeking to look with God’s Spirit to look toward His Kingdom plans and let go so I can walk His path. I am climbing over the boulders of my â€œif’sâ€ and stepping on in faith toward tomorrow.
God is faith and faithful. He may give me a new answer. He may give me peace beyond my ability to understand. I know Jesus will be there when I weep and will hold me and comfort me as only He can.
â€œTake off the grave clothes and let her go, â€œ Jesus says. (v. 44)