“Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha…Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was…He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.”…So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days… “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out…” John 11:1-44 (bold added)
Have you ever cried out to the Lord that if He really loved you He would never do what He’s doing? That He would never allow what He’s allowing? That He would never give you the circumstances you have? That He would never test you the way He’s testing you? That He would never let you suffer the way you’re suffering? That He would never let you face the trials you’re facing? That if He really loved you, your life would most assuredly be totally different than it is now? That how could He possibly love you, and care about you, if your life looks and feels like it does? Have you doubted His love and care for you because of your circumstances? I have! Over and again, I have cried out to God, angry, hurt, feeling betrayed, feeling forgotten, overlooked, neglected, unloved, un-cared for, forsaken, lashing out at God with bitterness and brokenness, not to mention pride and doubt, worry, fear, and a whole host and array of sin, to call it what it is, all because I felt my life’s circumstances showed a lack of love and care and mercy on His part. How can you call this love, God?! I have cried.
One day the Spirit of God showed me something in the well- known story of Jesus raising his beloved friend Lazarus from the dead I had never seen before. Lazarus’ sisters wanted and expected Jesus to go to his friend’s side when he was really sick to help and heal him. If you know the story, you know Jesus waited until Lazarus was dead to teach a lesson in faith and bringing glory to God. But this is not all. Look at what I had missed.
Pay close attention to the language here and see the tiny word I had never noticed before: “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was…” See the word “so”? The word “so” reveals that BECAUSE Jesus loved them, he delayed going to see and help Lazarus. It wasn’t because He didn’t love them. It was BECAUSE HE LOVED THEM. In plain English, He did what HE KNEW WAS BEST, HE HAD A PLAN AND A PURPOSE, HE WANTED TO TEACH THEM SOMETHING, and most importantly He wanted to BRING GLORY TO GOD. He did love them! IN HIS LOVE, FOR GOD’S GLORY, HE DID WHAT WAS BEST.
Someone told me long ago we only see the small picture; God sees the whole picture. In His infinite wisdom, no matter how hard it may seem, look, and feel on our part concerning our circumstances, the Lord does what He knows is best to fulfill His plans and purposes that He might get the ultimate glory. When we find our hearts, mouths, and actions filled with all the sin that I have so often found mine filled with, we need to repent of it all, purge ourselves of it, purify ourselves by seeking and receiving God’s forgiveness, be filled with God’s Spirit, and fill ourselves with God’s Word, and PUT OUR TRUST IN HIM, IN HIS LOVE, IN HIS PLANS AND PURPOSES, and seek above all else in no matter what we face and endure to live to love, worship, serve, and bring God glory! Should we doubt God’s love because His will is hard sometimes? No! We should trust God, we should trust His will, and no matter His will, we should trust His love.