It is a dangerous thing, it seems, to be a friend of Jesus. ‘Jesus love Mary, Martha and Lazarus, so when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed where he was for two days.’ Huh? It brings to mind a line from Theresa of Avila: ‘Lord, if this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few of them!’
Yet, there is a promise that is given: “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Jesus always looks at the bigger picture of an issue, rather than just at the finer details. (Even though he knows the finest of details as well!) And he leads us through similar moments that we, too, can come to realize, with Mary, that Jesus is ‘the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.’
The challenge comes in how are we able to come to that recognition, especially in those moments when darkness seems to overwhelm, or the pain of grief seeks to snuff out the light of faith.
So, again, we turn to this passage, and really the passages from the last two weeks as well, to see how Jesus interacts with those in these passages.
The first thing we realize: Jesus always comes in the hour of greatest need, the hour when all else looks lost, He appears; bringing light for those who attempt to see; bringing healing as only He can provide; bringing reconciliation for wounds and injuries.
Yet, He also enters into our grief. He weeps at sorrow at the death of his friend Lazarus. He weeps in sorrow when we fall into the death of sin. He weeps with us when we weep in sorrow at the death of a loved one, as well.
But in all of this, he points us to something more, something beyond our grief of the moment, into a realization of a deeper embrace of life, and an awareness of life in Christ, a life which does not end.
Because when we start to look at the world through the eyes of faith, we start to see that the glory of God is all around, and miracles happen every single day.
I fully realize, however, that this does not necessarily make those ‘hard times’ easier to bear or nicer to encounter; but when we are finally able to overcome and see that difficult moment through the eyes of Jesus instead of through just our own very limited sight, the Glory of God becomes all encompassing. And even death cannot overcome it.
Those very things in your life which seek to separate you from one another, as death separated Lazarus from his sisters, is the very thing where Jesus comes to you over these next two weeks in our approach to Easter. And it is precisely through ‘that thing’ in your life where Jesus calls you to experience new life in Him, to experience a Resurrection, as it were, to something more.
Yes, could Jesus have prevented that rough spot in the first place? Absolutely! But if He brings you through it, He has something even better in mind for you. Dare to live that adventure with Him!