When We Don’t Understand

John 11:32-33
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.  When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,

There is so much pain and grief in Mary’s heart at this time.  Not only is she dealing with the loss of her brother, but also the confusion and hurt that Jesus hadn’t come sooner and intervened, healing Lazarus and sparing her this sorrow.  She knew He was able to heal, so she doesn’t understand why He didn’t heal.  She knew He loved Lazarus, so it didn’t make sense for Jesus to tarry instead of coming right away.  She knew He could have prevented all of this, but he didn’t spare her family from this tragedy.

We often feel the same way when hard things come into our lives—”If only this hadn’t happened.”  “If only God had prevented it.”  “Why couldn’t things have been different?”  And maybe we wonder what it all means and if God even cares.  Like Mary, we trust the Lord.  We know He can do something.  We ask for help.  And sometimes it feels like He just ignores us.  He has the power to do something, but He doesn’t, and sometimes that’s hurtful when we don’t understand and we can’t see God’s ultimate plan of how He will work in our situation.

But we can’t let those kinds of feelings turn us away from Jesus.  He is who we need to run to especially then.  We can’t let those situations cause our faith in Him to waver or make us doubt His love or His power or His goodness.  We need to seek Him even more through those times, lay our hurts at His feet, and deal with those thoughts and feelings in His presence.  Because, as Mary found, Jesus comes beside us in our deepest sorrows and mourns right along with us.

In the end, things turned out very differently than it seemed like they were going to.  Jesus had something else in mind for this situation, different than what Mary had wanted originally but ultimately good and with the dual purpose of bringing glory to God and increasing her faith.  And so often, those hard and hurtful things serve those same purposes in our lives.  God can be glorified, and our faith can grow.  That doesn’t mean we always get our answers here.  It doesn’t mean things stop hurting.  But it means we can grow closer to Jesus in good times and bad.  It means there are opportunities for us to stand amazed and in awe of our Lord and see Him glorified in the world around us.