Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
So often we want to simply spare ourselves and our loved ones from pain and suffering. We don’t like to endure difficult things. We don’t enjoy those sorrows and hardships. And in this life, we face so many things that we would rather not have to face. But we can’t focus too much on simply avoiding anything that hurts us. We have to trust God in those moments. We have to look for the lesson He is teaching us. We have to grow in the ways we can only grow through that situation. It’s not about finding relief for whatever the struggle is so that we don’t have to deal with something hard, but it should be about giving God the glory in the midst of that hardship no matter what.
Mary and Martha found that God doesn’t always prevent painful things from happening to us, even though He certainly has the power to do so. But we have to remember in those times that He is still good, He still loves us, and He hasn’t abandoned us. Jesus is with us in our sorrow even though He knows what joy is in our future. He will be near in those moments of brokenness even as he knows the good that will eventually come. He will share in our grief even as He prepares something that will cause us to greatly rejoice.
The experience of their brother’s death is certainly something Mary and Martha would have rather not had to face. They were hurting. They were confused. They were disappointed that Jesus hadn’t come and made everything right. And Jesus never admonishes them for their sorrow, but He joins them in it, because He understands our emotions and our hurt and the kinds of things that make us sad and why. He understood the desperation that they felt in losing their brother this way, the pain and emptiness of that loss. And He allowed them their grief even as he prepared for this amazing miracle of bringing Lazarus back to life.
What kinds of struggles are we facing that we can invite Jesus to share with us? He may not have brought the healing we were hoping for, but He will mourn with us and remind us of His love and grace even in those hard times. He may not have spared us some hardship, but He goes through it with us, often teaching us important lessons about His faithfulness and how much we can trust Him even when we don’t understand something. We may have been left to endure something overwhelming and agonizing, but He goes with us all the way until we get to the place where we can finally see the truth we needed to understand or the strength that we’d gained or the ways that situation brought glory to our Father. So let’s look to Jesus and find what we need in Him for whatever we are facing.