January 21, 2019
"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.'" John 11:4 (NIV)
Lord, I don't want to write any more of these kinds of stories.
I knew this was not the "Sunday School" response to my Savior, but after hearing news that left my heart broken, I just had to shoot straight with the One who loves me most. He has proven that when I am hurting, He will comfort me, and that is exactly what I needed. I knew I could go to Him in the rawest moments of my life, and He would take me in.
One thing I've learned in loving Jesus: It doesn't mean we get to skip hard things in life. It takes only a day to find this is true. Disappointments sometimes replace dreams. Unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others crowd out the happiness we hoped to experience.
Maybe Martha in John 11 felt similar feelings as she looked at her brother Lazarus' lifeless body. She could have thought, If Jesus loved us, why would He have allowed this? He knows we need our brother. This tragedy could have easily been prevented if Jesus would have simply come when the sisters called for Him.
Jesus hadn't followed their plan or met their expectations when He stalled in coming to their rescue. But He had His reasons for waiting, and clearly explains it in today's key verse, John 11:4b: "... it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it."
Jesus gave His purpose for Lazarus' illness and subsequent death, but Mary and Martha were not there to hear His answer. Sometimes, even if we do hear His words, they are not the ones we want to hear.
We just want our pain fixed.
Jesus wanted them to learn that His "no" now is not always a no forever; He has the perfect timing and perfect answer to our needs. He wants our faith and confidence in Him alone, and often a no when we want a yes helps us reposition our confidence and trust when it's gotten off track.
If Jesus had come to this family's immediate rescue, there would have been no reason for the sisters to develop and exercise confidence. Often, He will build this type of confidence in uncomfortable environments.
The sisters had sent for Jesus and had offered a prayer of sorts. "Lord, he whom you love is ill" (v. 3b, ESV). They had confidence He would hear them, and they were right: He heard and answered their request in His way, in His time.
My heart needs this hope and comfort today - this faith-booster. Confidence that we can ask anything according to His will and He hears us is what powers our prayers. Matthew 7:7-8 reminds us, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened" (NIV).
Jesus leaves no room for doubt. The answer to our prayer … will come.
Ask ... and it will. Seek ... and it will. Knock … and it will. This is the faith-push that empowers us. When disappointment and discouragement deplete me, God's directives restore me.
Dear Lord, thank You that whenever disappointment and discouragement deplete me, You will restore me. When life knocks me down, I will choose to draw closer to You still. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (NIV)
Needing an anchor to keep your confidence in Christ alone? Lynn Cowell's Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures will help you stabilize your trust in Christ.
Do you wish you knew the secret of being steadfast and not panicking when God gives you more than you can handle? Join us for our Online Bible Study of Lysa TerKeurst's new book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, which starts today. Register here for free.
Could you use a reminder of where your peace comes from? Click here to download a printable Lynn's made available for you.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Jesus promised us in John 16:33 that in this world we will have trouble. Yet, He also promised that in Him we can have peace. Take a moment to write out your trouble. Across the words, write in large letters on top of the trouble: JESUS = PEACE.
When your heart and mind want to circle around your trouble again, remind yourself: JESUS = PEACE. Have a strategy for the best way to remind yourself? Share your ideas in our comments section!
© 2019 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.