PASTORS' DAILY DEVOTIONAL
John 11:32 When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
The situation was not looking very promising for a man by the name of Lazarus. He was ill, and there were no doctors, treatments, or medicine that could remedy his ailments. It appeared as though his condition was worsening, and it was only a matter of time before this sickness would ultimately take his life. His two sisters, Mary and Martha, had seen Jesus heal others, so they sent word to him in hopes that something could be done. I’m sure that in this urgent situation they hoped Jesus would drop everything he was doing and come to Lazarus’ aid immediately, but we find him staying where he was for two more days. Didn’t Jesus care? Why would he delay? Doesn’t he realize the urgency of the situation? Lazarus died before Jesus returned to Judea, and Mary and Martha were devastated. From their perspective, it appeared as though Jesus had failed them, as all their eyes could see was Lazarus’ death, all their ears could hear was the absence of his voice, and all their hearts could feel was the hurt and pain of their loss. We find Mary responding, as I would have, with questioning, hurt, and frustration. I thought you cared? I thought you loved him? Why did you allow this bad thing to happen? Mary saw an insurmountable obstacle, and Jesus saw an impending opportunity to bring glory to God. Jesus, the Giver of Life, entered the tomb that had held Lazarus’ dead body for 4 days, called out to him, and Lazarus rose in life and strength. The on-lookers encountered the Divine that day, and many believed, transforming their eternities.
Have you ever questioned God? I know I have. There have been times of heartache where I’ve asked God “WHY!?”, times of disappointment where I’ve questioned His plan, and times of frustration where I’ve questioned His timing. Our default is to allow what we see with our eyes and the fickle emotions of our heart to dictate our perspective, which breeds doubt and fear. God had a perfect plan far greater than what Mary and Martha understood, and this plan was founded on flawless wisdom and optimal timing. I recently was afforded some time away from work, and I was able to watch the movie “The Soul Surfer”. The movie tells the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a teenage girl with a love of surfing in her heart and a passion for God in her soul. Following a devastating shark attack, her arm was lost. She would live, but life would never be the same. The tasks which were once effortless now seemed impossible, and she found herself, sitting before her pastor, asking her why God would allow this to happen. The pastor shared that she didn’t know his plan, but she knew Jeremiah 29:11 which held his promise that he had plans to prosper her, to give her a hope and a future. Trusting God’s plan, Bethany persevered and has since been used by God to inspire millions of people. Why would God allow this to happen? John 11:4 gives us a hint, “…it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” God receives great glory when his children stand in faith and obedience in the face of difficult circumstances. Our default should be trusting our God who is in control of everything, which breeds hope and joy. He is more than able to handle any, and every, circumstance you are facing. Beyond that, he is love, and he cares for you more than you will ever comprehend. We serve a God who is worthy of our faith and trust, as His plans are perfect, His wisdom is flawless, and His timing is optimal at all times! Because of this, I will choose to stand in hope and trust no matter what comes my way.
Lord, I praise you because you are sovereign, mighty, and wise. I thank you for your love, and I ask that you would help me to trust you in the midst of my circumstances. I believe that your plans, and ways, are perfect, and I will choose to stand in faith and obedience knowing that your plans are far beyond my understanding or dreams.