Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
It was the same thing that Martha had said when she first met Jesus, perhaps something the sisters had talked about. As Lazarus kept getting sicker and sicker, did they look for Jesus on the horizon, coming their way to heal and restore their brother? Did they wait each day for a messenger to say that Jesus was on His way? They understood what Jesus could do. They knew who He was. They believed on Him and trusted Him. So they sent Him word that their brother was dying, but He didn’t come in time.
It is a statement that expresses great faith in Jesus. He had power over sickness that was demonstrated numerous times in front of multitudes of people. But maybe there is more to that statement—sorrow and disappointment. Mary and Martha didn’t understand why Jesus hadn’t come quickly and intervened before it was too late. Maybe she’s saying, “Lord, You could have come and prevented this. You could have healed my brother like You healed so many others. We told You he was sick, and yet You did not come to your beloved Lazarus and make him well, and now he is gone.”
This simple statement is an echo of the kinds of honest questions that we have when we don’t understand what God is doing. It’s a very real human response to the realities of pain and suffering in this life. We all wonder these things at times: “Why would God let this happen? Why didn’t He come and spare us this loss? Why didn’t He save the one He loved so much? Why was it my brother that got sick? Why did he have to die? Why do bad things happen to good people?”
But the truth is, that’s life. The truth is, God is in control. He is working out His plans and purposes that go beyond what we can see. His ways are higher than we can understand sometimes. We love the Lord and we trust Him, but we just don’t always understand why things happen as they do. And that’s okay. Sometimes we just have to cry at His feet and ask those hard questions. Sometimes we just have to learn to trust God more. Sometimes we have to endure those hard and painful things to get to something better on the other side of it. And even if we never get to know why, He’ll still come beside us in our sorrow.