Monday, July 7, 2014

"Crying out to Jesus" ~ A guest post by Tricia Martin

I set out to write a completely different post today.  As I was searching for a verse that as of right now I'm not even sure actually exists, I came across the story of Jesus, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.  I really love this story, and I think God is urging me to write about that instead.   So here it goes!

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the story, Mary and Martha are sisters.  Lazarus is their brother.  They all had a relationship with Jesus while he was on earth and believed him to be the Messiah.  While Jesus was traveling, Lazarus became sick to the point of death.  Mary and Martha sent for Jesus so that he could come home and heal Lazarus, as they had seen him heal many other sick and disabled.  I think it is important to note that they must have felt pretty comfortable with Jesus - whom they believed to be the Messiah - to send for someone to go and get Him.   Jesus didn't come when they called, though; he stayed where He was.  When asked by His disciples why He wouldn't go to Lazarus, He told them that Lazarus' illness was for God's glory so God's Son could be glorified through it.  And then He waited.

After Lazarus had died and been placed in a tomb, Jesus arrived.  Mourning had already begun.  When Martha and Mary heard that Jesus had arrived, Martha went to Him immediately.  Mary, on the other hand, did not go to Jesus.  I believe she was hurt.  I believe she was angry with Jesus.  He could have healed Lazarus if He had come.  Why hadn't He come?  What was He doing that was so important that He could just let her brother die? Didn't He love her?  Did He love Lazarus?

Jesus knew why He had stayed away.  He knew He would raise Lazarus, and He knew that through this miracle He and God would be glorified.  He knew that, because of the testimony of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, many would believe He is the Messiah and be saved.  Even with this knowledge, when He arrived at the home of Mary and Martha and He saw all of the weeping and mourning, He cried.  John 11 tells us Jesus was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled.  The Greek for "deeply moved" literally means "threatened to enjoin."  He was moved by the emotion of those hurting around Him that, even though He knew Lazarus' death was not permanent, He was still in as much pain as those around Him.

The God we worship is sovereign.  He is not absent.  He is never far away.  When we are hurting, He is close by.  When those around us die, when we are abused, when we are tormented, when we lose everything and don't know why, Jesus is there, and even though He knows that the outcome is His ultimate glorification - which is the point of each of our lives - He hurts when we hurt.  It pains the Living God to watch us suffer.

We live in a world that would tell us that, if God cared, He wouldn't let bad things happen to us.  They would say that if there was a God and He could stop evil and He doesn't, that makes Him cruel and unjust, but I think that is nonsense.  Let me tell you why.  God is far more concerned with our eternal life than He is with our temporary comforts.  I used to say, before I was saved, that I didn't know if I could worship a God that would stand by and let me be abused as a child, but now I understand.  God knew that that is what it would take to eventually bring me to Him.  Without that time in my life, who knows if I ever would have accepted Christ as my Savior?  While I hate that it happened, and a day doesn't go by when I don't think about it, if God can use it to bring glory to Himself, then I would gladly suffer it again... Okay, probably not gladly, but I would suffer it, because I understand now the deep love that Christ has for me and that the only response to understanding God's love is to desire with your whole being to bring Him glory.

If you feel alone today, if you feel like God isn't coming - if you feel like you have called Him, but He's not answering - know that He hears you.  Know that He isn't going to leave you in your pain.  He is weeping and mourning with you.  The day is coming when you will see God's plan and you will understand.  Until then, know that Jesus weeps, and then He gets to work. He raises people from the dead.  He restores what only He could restore.  He moves what only He could move.  And you are not alone.

Tricia Martin is a follower of Jesus, wife, mother of four, and part-time writer.  She loves Jesus and His Word and is passionate about sharing that love with other women.  God’s Word is our only source of truth in a world that lies to us continually about who we are and the purpose for which we were created.  Tricia longs for every woman to know who she is and what she means to her Creator.  This is the passion that fuels everything she does – from parenting to teaching.

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