Yesterday morning, I was reflecting on John chapter 11, specifically verses 17-37. The story of Lazarus' death and when Jesus goes to raise him from the dead. But I wasn't thinking about Lazarus. Or even Jesus.
I was thinking about the sisters.
Their grief and the way they dealt with it. Their friendship with Jesus and how their brother's death affected it.
When their brother was ill, they called upon Jesus because of their faith in Him.
"So the sisters sent word to him, saying, 'Master, the one you love is ill.'"
He stayed two days longer in His current town before traveling to their rescue. Because He knew--He had another plan, one that would bring greater glory to God and greater faith and trust in Him.
In the meantime, Lazarus died. And sometimes the unexpected happens in our own lives, when we've cried out to God time and time again to save us from an outcome, heartache, pain. But it happens anyway. I don't know about you, but I've wrestled with this at times. The question "Why?" Eight months ago, I sat alone in the back of the church during Sunday Mass, overwhelmed by my grief but soaking in the Scripture readings. John 11 was being read and this tiny hidden verse hit me as it had never done before. Because I related to Mary:
"When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home."
Even though I still believe in Him, still trust Him with my mind...I just don't have the strength or the words to pray. I sit there but my heart struggles. Is that okay? If I had greater faith, would I be Martha, going out to meet Jesus, boldly and actively continuing on knowing He will make all things right? Instead, sometimes I can't find the strength to go to Him. I sit at home.
But this is the God we serve, dear friends. The One who doesn't hold our weakness against us, but instead pursues us in our grieving. He seeks us out to heal us, even when we don't have the strength to go out and meet Him. He will come to you. He will call your name.
"When [Martha] had said this, she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, 'The teacher is here and is asking for you.'"
So let Him find you as you are. Fall at His feet and tell Him all your fears and doubts. He knows already anyway.
"When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.'"
Your tears matter to God.
"When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, He became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said 'Where have you laid him?' They said to Him, 'Sir, come and see.'
"And Jesus wept."
Even though He knew He was about to perform a miracle, Jesus cried. Our God...wept.
He didn't hold it against Mary that in her grieving she didn't go out to meet Him. He came to her. He cried with her. And then He brought good from bad, beauty from ashes, victory over death.
I texted a girlfriend these verses yesterday because of a heavy cross she is carrying right now. She replied with "God is so good" because she had been meditating on a verse from this very chapter for the past few days!
It stirred me to share my thoughts with you. Because maybe God wants you to know this. That He's not holding it against you if you're struggling in prayer or growth because of pain or suffering in your life. He's meeting you where you are. He's coming to you, sweet friend. Take whatever steps you can to meet Him but He will close the gap. Fall at His feet. He has a beautiful plan for you but for now, He is simply holding you in His arms.
I'm praying for you.