|Photo by Lori Kennedy|
By Lori Kennedy
. . . 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)
Have you ever wondered where God is and why He hasn’t answered your prayers? Have you ever felt abandoned by God? Have you felt that He's left you or doesn’t love you?
Have you had a prayer answered in a different way than you hoped or expected?
I always think of that Garth Brooks song, “Unanswered Prayers”. As the song goes, when Garth was in high school, he used to pray that God would allow him to marry the girl he was currently dating. Many years later at a class reunion he reflects back on his life. Then thinking about his current bride, he thanks God for not answering that high school prayer.
I wonder if Mary and Martha felt that their prayers had gone unanswered when Lazarus died before Jesus arrived. John 11:5-6 says that Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus, yet He made the decision to stay where He was two days after He heard that Lazarus was ill. He arrived four days after Lazarus had been buried. Martha accuses Jesus in verse 21 of chapter 11 of being too late. She states, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” In verses 32 of chapter 11, Mary makes this exact same accusation.
Why do you think Jesus did this? Why do you think He allowed Mary and Martha to suffer this loss? Do you think that they felt that He had abandoned them, did not love them and had not answered their prayers? We know He was burdened for them in their grief as stated in 11:33. Verse 35 says that Jesus wept.
Mary and Martha had seen Jesus heal people before as had the Disciples. Yes, healing was a miracle, but the miracle of healing had already been witnessed. In fact, that is exactly why Mary and Martha had called on Jesus, healing was the anticipated result of requesting His presence. However, the scripture states in 11:4 that this particular miracle was to be for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it. Verse 15 of chapter 11 says that it was so the disciples may believe. Verse 40 further discloses His purpose by stating, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” Maybe, just maybe, God wanted to reveal more of himself to His faithful followers than had been previously shown to them.
I had a friend tell me that our being able to see God working in our life is like the Macy’s Day Parade on Thanksgiving Day. We are just someone in the crowd, only able to see what is exactly in front of us at that moment. God, on the other hand, is hovering over the whole parade and can see beginning, middle, and end. God knows what’s best for our lives as declared in Romans 8:28 (NIV), “God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” and in Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV), “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” It is truly daunting to try to see the Hand of God in the midst of difficult circumstances or to feel His love during an especially silent time. If you are going through a tough time, I challenge you to keep your perspective eternal using the backdrop of the cross as your filter. If you are feeling abandoned and not hearing from God, I laugh and tell you to hold on tight, because He might be about to reveal His glory in mighty and powerful ways to you!