John 11:21 “Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”
When someone we love is acting out in destructive ways, it affects the entire family. Often, alcohol or drug abuse are involved in that acting out. But even if it’s not, that kind of behavior doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Relationships are damaged…sometimes even totally broken. And where home should be a haven for us, it has turned into a battleground instead. You may be asking yourself why God hasn’t intervened. Has He forgotten about you? Wouldn’t He show up and do something if He really cared?
Those are the unspoken questions in John 11. Jesus had been very close to Lazarus, Mary and Martha and had often spent time in their home. Now Lazarus was sick, and his sisters sent a message asking Jesus to come. Jesus didn’t go right away, and Lazarus died. I can only imagine how overwhelmed Mary and Martha must have been and how disappointed that Jesus had not come in time. Didn’t He love them anymore? Had they made a mistake in thinking they were intimate friends? Could they not rely on Him? Some of that frustration and discouragement shows in Martha’s statement, almost a rebuke, in John 11:21, “…Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”
Of course, she was the “unspiritual” sister of Luke 10:42, right? The one to whom Jesus said, “Mary hath chosen that good part…” by sitting at His feet to learn about spiritual things. So what’s going on with this “spiritual” sister, Mary? In John 11:32, Mary said exactly the same thing as Martha. These two ladies had lost their beloved brother, and they were overwhelmed and discouraged. More than that, they were asking themselves and even asking Jesus, “Where were You when we needed You?”
Verse 33 tells us that “when Jesus saw her weeping…he groaned in his spirit,” and He Himself wept. Jesus knew the end of the story as they did not, and He knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead But He was moved with compassion for these hurting women. In just the same way, Jesus cares when our world is upside down, our hearts are broken, and our spirits are wounded. He’s not put off by our questions, not even when we doubt His love or faithfulness.
Like Mary and Martha, we can’t see the whole…only our own small part. We can’t see that when the story is finished, it’s going to be a “finish” that will be for our good and God’s glory. We may forget that God’s plan isn’t to harm us; it’s to prosper us, to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11). Until that happens, my hurting friend, your tears and mine are a language of their own. And you can know that just as Jesus wept with these sisters, he weeps with us when our hearts are discouraged, when we can’t see any solution, when we have no hope that things will be different. That’s the time He says to us, “be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Challenge for Today: Can you, just for today, ask God to heal your wounded spirit and trust Him? Can you believe He cares and that His timing is perfect?