I relate so much to the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. There are so many explosive feelings and questions in it. It’s just real life and I feel like I’ve lived this story many times in one way or another.
Just put yourself in the story and you’ll probably be able to relate too.
Can you imagine being besties with Jesus and having Him chill at your house?
You would think that nothing bad could happen to you when the Savior of the world is your homie. You’re definitely not gonna die or anything right?
Imagine you’re Mary and Martha. Your brother gets sick and so if you’re buds with someone who heals sick people obviously you’re going to call Him first, He’ll do His healing thing and it’ll be great.
But you call Him and He doesn’t come. And you wait and wait and your loved one gets sicker and sicker. And then there’s the dying part. Dying sucks you know. Everyone pretty much hates that.
Your brother Lazarus dies because Jesus didn’t show up. Worse? You know Jesus didn’t even try to come immediately.
He knew what was going on, and didn’t step in. He knew. He could have stopped it. That’s what hurts the worst.
So you’re mad at Him and you can’t even look at Him or talk to Him when He does show up like Mary. Or you see Him finally coming from far away and you run at Him screaming and sobbing and choking on your own heartbreak like Martha, thinking WHY weren’t you here? WHY did you not show up for me? Your friend died and you could have stopped it!
What does He say then? What is the answer to all those questions? Just WHO He is. I am the life He says.
And then the worst part. He starts crying with you. STOP crying, okay Jesus, I don’t want you to be sad for me, I don’t need to know how much you understand my grief, I just need you to have fixed it and you didn’t!
What about Lazarus? No one ever talks about how he’s feeling in this story.
Dying sucks. If you’re begging Jesus to show up and save you because you’re dying, it’s serious, and there’s no time for trite religious mumbo jumbo that may have been fine before, but makes no sense when you’re dying.
So you’re sitting there asking yourself all the questions like Lazarus probably did, like why is Jesus not here? Why is He not saving me? Does He not understand how much this hurts? Does He still care about me? Did I make Him mad and that’s why He’s not here? Is He still God? Did He forget about me? Does He hate me? Where is He? Why did He abandon me?
Then you get to the part where you think, It’s too late for me now. I’m gonna die and He let me.
But it’s cool. Jesus has a plan. Not to fix things. He didn’t need to. He had a plan from the beginning. The plan was for you to die.
This miracle was not some haphazard “oops I didn’t make it in time, let me fix this real quick” deal. No. Jesus is pretty intentional about His stuff. And sometimes the plan is not for you to be saved in time.
Sometimes the plan is not for your suffering to be avoided.
Sometimes the plan is not for everything to be easy and make perfect sense.
Sometimes the plan is to let you scream it out and be angry and feel all the feelings, so you can dig deep in your soul and finally get to the place where you ask Him all your questions that religion can’t answer.
Sometimes the plan is for life to suck and you to die and your family to face loss and grief.
But He has a plan remember? So you kind of pick yourself up and dust yourself off like Mary and Martha did, and you remember that He’s still God and He can do whatever He wants and you try not to be mad at Him for that, and you try to pick your faith up off the ground and stick it back together. It’s kind of a mess and not really working, but whatever.
Hey, wait where’s Jesus? Oh yeah, that’s right, He had a plan.
So there He is working out His plan, at the TOMB where a BODY is, telling people to open it.
Now, this is just the end. You can’t handle this. Here Jesus has let your brother die and now He’s trying to look at the dead body and you just can’t.
You have to sit here and remind the Creator of this world of basic science, right. Um, Jesus, he’s been dead THREE days okay, what are you doing, why are you even here at this point, this is just too much.
But no. This was His plan from the beginning. So He says “Hey, do you believe Me?
I know it doesn’t make sense to you but just trust Me and do what I say, okay?”
This whole messy process, the questions, the anguish, the realization that nothing and no one can save you but Jesus, the betrayal when He doesn’t in a time frame you can comprehend, picking up the ugly pieces of your faith and following Him to the place where you can’t handle it anymore….its all part of teaching you how to trust Him when nothing makes sense.
Because one way or another His plan for you is life. It’s always been life. it’s been all good the whole time because He knew you were going to live. Not your way or even in a way you could comprehend. Not in your time frame either.
He knew how you would learn that He answers all of your questions by telling you about who He is…..how He IS life and He’s standing there at your tomb when you’ve gone and died and He’s calling forth all of you back to life and wholeness and healing and faith and taking everything related to death off you so that you really understand and get it.
You get WHO He is and how much He loves you, and how He will always show up for you if you just have enough faith to trust Him when nothing about your situation makes sense, and how He will always save you, even if it’s the minute after the last minute.
By Bri Lassiter
I’m married to my dearest friend of 8 years and mom to an energetic 6-year-old. My greatest joys come from traveling with my little family, cooking for appreciative recipients, learning herbalism and natural medicine, and every experience I get to have in prayer ministry. I’m an avid tea and book lover and can’t get enough of either. I love Jesus and the daily adventure that comes from walking in friendship with him as he arranges and rearranges my story.