This week’s devotions are based on the message: “Overcoming Death” Week 5 of Signs (LISTEN HERE)
“God must hate me.”
“God is angry at me.”
“God is getting back at me.”
Have you had these thoughts run through your mind when you were going through a very challenging time in life?
We lose a job. We get a serious illness. We experience the loss of a loved one. Fill in the blank.
Often when hardship comes into our life we have this reaction because we think we deserve better. This can especially be a temptation for Christians who have faithfully walked with Jesus for a long period of time. However the sin of thought is that by doing what we should as a Christian we are earning life without trouble. Or, at the very least, if trouble is to come, we have a stash of good that we can appeal to God to take away what we think is not good.
In John 11 and the raising of Lazarus, there are so many great truths to draw from it. Please read that chapter this week. However, one truth that stands out in the introduction to the account is this: Jesus loved Lazarus…and Mary…and Martha.
11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
Why did the Spirit of God lead John to write, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus”? I think it is because the fact that Jesus a) didn’t speak healing to Lazarus from a distance and heal him appears unloving when Jesus could have or b) Jesus delayed in going to Lazarus until he was already dead.
If someone is critically ill in the hospital and I tell the family, “I’ll be there in two days.” I don’t think that statement would appear too loving to the family in the middle of a life or death crisis.
Yet, the Apostle John notes Jesus’ heart for Lazarus. It plays out later as Jesus wept at the graveside of Lazarus.
Yet…Lazarus died and Mary and Martha were grieving.
That doesn’t sound loving.
But here’s the perspective, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
The losses, hardships and challenges in life are opportunities for the glory of God to be revealed.
I lose a job…perhaps the Lord is setting up a time to trust him when your heart was relying too heavily on yourself. Perhaps the Lord is opening a door better than the one that was closed.
I get a terminal illness. Perhaps the Lord is slowing down life to give you opportunity to reconnect and grow in your relationship with him. Perhaps he will use your peace and joy during a time of suffering to be a witness to another which he uses for their salvation.
The death of Lazarus is couched under the truth: Jesus loved Lazarus.
This is the blanket truth that covers our lives as well: Jesus loves you.
So with that premise in mind and heart, know that truly all that happens is to solidify that truth and allow the glory of God to be revealed.
Apply: What challenge are you going through? What are two possible ways God is showing his love to you in this season/situation?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for a love that never diminishes and is always there…even in the hardships and challenges of life. AMEN.