"Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" John 11:40 (NIV)
Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus were in Jesus' inner circle of friends. As part of the "in" crowd, Mary and Martha felt certain Jesus would come to them when Lazarus got ill. They had seen Jesus heal and minister to complete strangers. Surely, He'd come to those whom He loved. However, we see in John 11:4-6 that was not the case.
Jesus indeed loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Yet, when He heard that Lazarus was sick He stayed where He was two more days.
Let's pause here for a moment. I find it very confusing that while Jesus loved His friends, He waited two days before He went to their side. These verses appear to validate our fear of rejection. We think, "If Jesus ignored His friend Lazarus, then He can ignore me too."
After my husband died, I felt unloved and forgotten by God. I had trusted Him and believed as His child nothing bad would happen to me. When something bad did happen, I bought Satan's lie. "I knew it, God. I knew You really didn't love me!" I believed Satan's propaganda which caused me to doubt God. He had promised never to leave or desert me, but there I was, alone. How could God betray me? I wondered.
Do you know that hollow, helpless feeling that accompanies the pain of rejection, loss, and loneliness? It may be the loss of your home, the loss of a pregnancy, or perhaps a loved one rejected you in some way. The pain of that rejection warns that trusting again is too risky.
The truth is, when you and I experience either emotional or physical trauma, and God doesn't respond like we think He should, we will do one of two things. Either we turn to God, trusting Him with the result; or we run from God and feed on bitterness. But it doesn't have to be this way. We can learn to trust again.
Perspective is often limited by circumstances. God knows exactly what He's doing in your life and it's always based on love. When I'm overcome with fear I'm not really looking for answers. I'm looking for the assurance that God is near, that He's in control, and He cares about me and my circumstances.
While others may reject us, you and I need not fear rejection from God. As I began to understand that God had not left me, but was in the pit with me, I started to see a deeper truth. Bad things are going to happen to me while on earth. Usually they are the result of living in this fallen world.
Sickness, abuse and death are part of life in a fallen world that God will someday restore. Until then, God may allow me to go through these things. It's not to cause me any undue pain, but rather He allow them and then use them to accomplish spiritual growth. Charles Stanley explains, "Some things are so important to God that they are worth interrupting the happiness and health of His children in order to accomplish them."
This was true with Mary and Martha. Jesus told Martha that she would see the glory of God if she believed. Did you catch that? Believing is seeing. If you and I choose faith over fear, we will see the glory of God turn our pain into life and blessings.
As Mary and Martha believed, they witnessed the glory of God when He raised their brother from the dead. Their fears vanished and their faith was restored. If you and I want to exchange our fear for faith, we must believe that what Christ has in store for us is worth our present pain.
Dear Lord, even when I don't understand Your actions, help me trust that You have my best at heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.