Archive for February, 2013

“But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

– John 11:22 NIV

It’s one thing to believe that God is able. It’s another thing altogether to believe God is able after time has passed, He has yet to respond and things have gotten worse! This is the predicament Martha and Mary found themselves in and countless others have encountered in their personal faith walk with God that challenges all of us who believe in Jesus Christ to remain faithful, hopeful and prayerful despite the reality of the current condition of our circumstances. Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus that their brother, whom they acknowledged that Jesus loved, was sick and they wanted Him to come and respond to their request (prayer) for help.

How difficult it is to hear, understand and believe that the One who loves me would allow time to pass and permit my circumstances to worsen without responding to my plea for help and assistance. When life opposes faith, it becomes even more difficult to endure and persevere when I have to wrestle with my thoughts and feelings about God’s love and His concern for me. I believe this is exactly what happened to Mary when Jesus arrived on the scene after delaying His response to her request to come and see about her, her sister and their brother. Mary knew Lazarus was someone Jesus loved. Surely, Jesus would respond. I am certain Martha and Mary heard the testimony about the Roman centurion who acknowledged that Jesus did not even need to come to his home, but just speak healing and because of His authority and power, Jesus would make his servant whole and well. Yet, after 3 days, Lazarus died and Jesus never came to see about him in response to Mary and Martha’s request. When Jesus did arrive, 4 days later, Mary didn’t come to meet Jesus as Martha did initially.

When she did go out to meet Jesus, after Jesus called for her, you can hear and feel the disappointment, discouragement, grief and pain in Mary’s words when she spoke to Jesus. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” – John 11:32b NIV The bible describes this scene by adding that Mary fell at Jesus’ feet. I interpret that as Mary being overcome with grief over Lazarus’ death and the great feeling of disappointment that Jesus did not respond when she called for Him to come. The irony of this dialogue between Mary and Jesus is that Martha started her conversation with Jesus the same way, but she added what she believed in spite of the condition of the reality of her current plight! “‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.'” – 11:21-22 NIV Faith challenges us to believe God is able in every and all circumstances to bring life from death and make things better and new!

May God bless you and help you to believe beyond how you feel despite the reality of your current plight so you may experience the fullness of life Christ came for us to have.

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“Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?'”

– John 11:40 NIV

 

How many times have the circumstances of life tried to convince you that you should just give up hope and quit believing in God, trusting Him to work everything together for good? How many times have you been tempted to or questioned whether God really cares, is He concerned, is His word really true, will He answer my prayers? In that same time frame, how often has your soul refused to believe anything other than what God promises in His word irregardless of what the circumstances of life may say? Despite the harsh condemning proclamations of misfortune, grief and injustice, how often did you hear the still, small voice of God whisper to you to keep believing?

In John 11, we encounter such a scenario in a conversation with Martha and Jesus. We are told in the 11th chapter of John that Martha and her sister Mary had sent a messenger (prayer) to Jesus to inform Him that their brother Lazarus was sick. “So the sisters sent word to Jesus, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick.'” – John 11:3 NIV Jesus delayed in responding to their request (when God is silent) and Lazarus died. 4 days later Jesus comes to Martha and Mary. What transpired in Martha’s conversation with Jesus regarding Lazarus’ death reinforces to us the value of remaining hopeful, faithful to trust God, even when life opposes faith. When Martha heard Jesus had arrived, she went to Jesus and a dynamic conversation ensued. How I feel in my circumstances isn’t the issue as much as what I believe despite how I feel. Although Lazarus died and Jesus did not respond to her request for His intervention at the time she needed Him to, Martha still believed Jesus could do something about her circumstances! “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” – John 11:22 NIV Martha refused to believe that the condition of her current circumstances were beyond God’s ability to affect change!

I wonder what Jesus’ thought was when He heard Martha declare what she believed about Him and the power of faith. When life opposes faith, the believer in Christ is challenged to declare what they believe despite how they may feel because of the condition of their current circumstances. No matter how many times I read this passage in the 11th chapter of John it inspires me and resonates within me, because it speaks to the heart of how I should be as a follower of Christ in the face of life’s opposition. Even now, God is looking to see who is willing to acknowledge Him as the One who can affect change, even when it appears your situation is beyond working out! God raises the dead, makes all things new and calls those things that are not as they ought to be!

May God bless you and help you to grow in faith to stand firm against life’s opposition so you may experience the fullness of life Christ came for us to have.