Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
Mary and Martha had done all they knew to do. They’d sent to Jesus and told Him about this problem. They made their need known to the one they were trusting in, the one they sought help and healing from. But Jesus’ response was delayed. He didn’t come immediately. He let Lazarus die. He allowed the sorrow Mary and Martha would feel. He allowed this tragic experience, the pain of it, the loss.
And maybe at that time, in the midst of all that, Mary and Martha didn’t understand what was happening or why. Sometimes Jesus doesn’t answer when we want Him to or how we want Him to. Sometimes we have to face things we’d rather not face. And so they might have imagined all kinds of things: Was Jesus too busy to come, unable to come for some reason? Didn’t He care? Didn’t He want to help? Could He help? They’d had faith that He could do something. That’s why they’d told Him in the first place. But would their faith remain intact when He seemingly didn’t come through for them?
We often face the same challenge in our lives. How will we respond when God’s answer is delayed? When He allows something bad to happen? When He doesn’t do what we want Him to do? Will we give up on Him or continue to trust Him? Will we turn from Him or to Him? Will we have faith even if we don’t understand what is happening or why it had to happen?
There was a greater purpose for this tragedy that the sisters overlooked in their personal pain. This sickness was not unto death, though Lazarus did die, because he lived again, and Jesus was glorified through this amazing miracle, and many believed on Him. In the midst of it, though, sometimes it’s hard to see that purpose. Sometimes we have to endure the hardship and wait until after to see that part of the story to understand what God was doing and why. So can we look at the struggles we face as for the glory of God? Can we see that, perhaps, there is a greater purpose for what we are dealing with and continue to have faith when things don’t work out how we wish they would?