Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.
Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love 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 may be glorified through it.”
[John 11:1-4 KJV]
Chapter 11 in the Book of John is a significant chapter amid a book of much significance. Why? Because it focuses on resurrection — the restoring of life; overcoming death to live in eternity.
Lazarus was clearly special to Jesus. We know so little about the connections made by Him during His earthly existence, other than a few throwaway lines in the gospels— and here is one. This is ‘he whom You love’, and he is sick and expected to die.
Jesus response — which was basically “Lazarus is not going to die. In fact he will live and it will be for God’s glory … and to glorify The Son”. I must admit it had me confused at first; particularly as He then decided to stay where He was for two more days. When someone we love is seriously ill, our natural inclination is to rush to be with them; pandemic or not. Jesus knew exactly what He was doing and why He must not rush in. Father God would lead in His time.
As we shall see, this was no healing of the type Jesus had done before. This was His great test, and it had to be accomplished in God’s way and no other. Have you ever felt tested to the limit, or even beyond the limit you supposed you had? If you have, you maybe realised pretty quickly, like me, that you cannot possibly measure up to the challenge.
As a child and young person, I never pushed myself for fear of failure. My school grades were indifferent for the most part, until a teacher I respected wrote in my end of term report “a bright child, but doesn’t try hard enough”, or some such thing. After that, I began to try a little harder and got through school reasonably well, but I could have done better.
In first year at Secondary School, each one in our year was given a small Gideon New Testament, which I read assiduously, following the reading plan. I would like to say that I had an amazing boost and never looked back, but that was not the case. However, it planted a seed and set me on a course that eventually — a mere thirty years later — led me to a deep sustaining relationship with The Lord. I have achieved many other things, but that relationship and a wonderful family are blessings that I never believed could be mine. In God’s time; not mine ... and it takes patience; particularly on God’s part.
I have a small note pinned to my drawing space at home which reads “Leave it to God; He has a much better imagination than you do.” Jesus always left it with The Father. His way is the best.
Alone with God! All hope and all aspiration springs from that source, and consequently all prosperity is measured from that source, and prosperity that springs from any other source is looked upon as disastrous.
[from ‘Christian Discipline’ by Oswald Chambers]
GEORGE and GILL STEWART