“Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after that, He said to the disciples, ‘Let’s go to Judea again.'” (John 11:5-7, HCSB).
This meditation is Part 2 of a four-part series from the story of the raising of Lazarus from death. When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days…
At first glance, Jesus’ behavior in response to the news of Lazarus’ terminal illness is somewhat puzzling, even enigmatic.
You would expect the story to go something like this: Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters so when He heard the news that Lazarus was very sick, He stopped what He was doing and rushed to Lazarus’ side to heal him.
Instead, Jesus stayed where he was and let Lazarus die!
That’s right. He just let him die!
This may sound harsh, but Jesus clearly intended not to arrive at Lazarus’ home before he died. But, Jesus had a higher purpose in mind: “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (vs. 6).
So Lazarus died and his body was prepared for burial and placed in a tomb before Jesus arrived to heal him of his apparent terminal illness.
It seems that the best way that God’s power and glory could be revealed to the disciples and the family of Lazarus was for Lazarus to die and for Jesus to raise him from the dead! Isn’t that basically what Jesus told His disciples?
And it’s still the same way with us today when we encounter devastating illness, personal tragedy or untimely loss in our lives. God sometimes waits to help us with our problems because He calls us to a higher purpose. And it is in God’s plans and purposes and in His timing that His power and glory is revealed to us and to others.
But, for God’s higher purpose to prevail over my desire for an expedient resolution to my problems usually means something in me needs to die. That usually means there’s something in my life that I haven’t surrendered to God that I need to surrender to God. Maybe it’s willfulness, arrogance, overconfidence, sin, apathy. Whatever it is, I need to just let it die!
We know that when we are accomplishing God’s higher purpose for our lives, then we can live abundant and eternal lives. Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life, The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die–ever” (vs. 25-26).
But when problems come, the first thing we do is pray for God to intervene and deliver us from our problems, all the while formulating our own solutions. We expect God to show up immediately and solve our problems or else we will fix it our own way.
Sometimes God answers immediately, but more often than we would prefer, God waits. And though God may seem to be slow, He is sure!
God will send a solution to our problems at a time and in a way that will best demonstrate His power and His glory, His higher purpose. God will send a solution to our problems when we are ready to accept and trust in His heavenly solutions! God waits to solve our problem until we’re ready to receive His solution!
Frequently, God’s higher purpose, God’s solution to the problem is actually found in the problem, in living faithfully through our trials and tribulations! Because, when we endure hardship and adversity and look to God for help, we learn to trust Him and we learn to receive His strengthening for faithful living.
“If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25, HCSB).
- Resurrection! Part 1: Pain Relief – John 11:4 (stevesbiblemeditations.com)