“So then he told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.'” (John 11:14)
This morning I spoke to a co-worker and brother in Christ, who shared that he has gone through many life-threatening trials in his life due to several illnesses. As my wife goes through her own season of faith-stretching, Jesus gives me a wonderful reminder in John 11 that God can use suffering, even to the point of death, for our sake.
I love the honesty and candor in Jesus’ reply here. It’s again one of those short statements that says a ton about God’s heart for us, and the fact that our earthly circumstances are minuscule in comparison to living a life of divine purpose and spending eternity with Him.
We all know the amazing story- Lazarus is sick, Jesus is notified and doesn’t show up until after he’s been dead a few days, Jesus comforts Mary and Martha, Jesus shares their pain and weeps, and then Jesus miraculously raises Lazarus from the dead.
Since Jesus told them this “plainly”, in turn, this is what God plainly spoke to me through this verse:
- “Lazarus is dead” – God knows our situation, and it doesn’t matter how bad it seems.
- “for your sake” – God is gracious and works all things for good.
- “I am glad” – God joyfully gives us opportunities to seek and find Him in every circumstance.
- “I was not there” – God assigns purpose even to the moments when He feels distant and silent.
- “so that you may believe” – God uses our temporary situation that we might benefit eternally, by believing and finding salvation in Jesus.
Our God is a miracle-working God, and there is nothing beyond His control or power! Knowing this, we must also recognize that when He allows us to go through suffering, there is a profound reason that He does so. Take comfort in knowing that even in our suffering, He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
If Jesus can use the death of a beloved brother to reveal His glory, He can and will do the same through our situations!
I pray that whatever you are going through, you will surrender it to God today, that you may believe- for your sake.
[From January 11, 2019]