John 11.1-6 (NRSV) Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
When is Jesus going to get here
There is a fascinating story in the Old Testament in Judges where there is an internal squabble among the tribes, namely all tribes against the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest. There had been a crime committed in the Benjamite lands and all of Israel was seeking retribution, so terrible was the crime. The Benjamites refused to give in and a fight broke out. The numbers were so heavily stacked against Benjamin that this would take no time whatsoever. The first day came and went and the Benjamites soundly defeated the overwhelming force. The tribes wept bitterly over their loss but were resigned to go out again believing their numbers would prevail. The second day came and went and again they were soundly defeated. The weeping of the tribes was truly great then, fear and confusion were abundant, and no one knew what to do. They cried out to God and God responded to their cries and on the 3rd day he delivered the Benjamites into their hands.
C.S. Lewis said famously, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” The story of Lazarus is one that can be quite disturbing. Lazarus and his sisters are dear friends of Jesus, he stays with them when he goes to Bethany and now word arrives that Lazarus is really sick. Of course, Jesus is known for many things but possibly above all is healing. I imagine that the sisters were so thankful that Jesus was so close at hand, only about 2 miles away. Jesus could have been there in an hour if he hurried. I bet the sisters rejoiced to know that their friend and healing savior was just around the corner, but the Scripture tells us that Jesus waited 2 more days. Imagine the mounting fear and pain in the sisters as they waited, and waited, and waited, and waited. How many times did they cry out, “Jesus, where are you?”. But you see, even in this terrible suffering, there was a message of hope that was brewing. There was purpose in this pain, a purpose so great that Jesus faithfully waited so that the megaphone was poised and prepared to deliver God’s message of true hope to a world gone deaf. Have you ever felt like the sisters, wondering when God was going to show up and do what God does, fix the problem? Have the passing days, weeks, months or even years become a break in your relationship with God because you think maybe he isn’t coming after all? What if God is simply preparing the megaphone in order that the hope, he delivers will rouse all those who have fallen deaf around us, even ourselves.
On today’s road: Is there a situation in your life now or from the past that you believed God should have shown up when called but didn’t? Has that situation caused you to become angry or lost? Stop on the road and consider this, if this situation could be used to rouse the many around us that we love who have fallen deaf, would you allow it to happen? Would you allow your self to suffer so that many would find true, life restoring hope? God did, and that is why we walk this road……