“But when Jesus heard this, He said, ‘This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it’” (John 11:4).
Through their seasons of pain, suffering, grief, and all other expressions of brokenness, the faithfulness of God’s people produces not a catastrophic end, but rather, it fulfills the greatest purpose of all — the glorification of God’s son. Until our lives are purposed for this task, we are forever destined to a life frustrated by the present circumstances.
“Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died’” (John 11:32).
From our perspective, God’s timing is sometimes troubling. In fact, there are times of suffering and injustice in this world where God’s apparent lack of action just looks bad. The created order is so broken that even the friends and loved ones of Jesus are not exempt from illness and physical death. Even so, present circumstances are never the criteria for measuring the love and concern of God. Yes, God’s timing may be painful, but it will always be perfect.
“The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge” (Proverbs 18:15).
Faith is a dynamic requiring the energy of pursuit. It exists only in a state of forward motion. Otherwise, it is dead. An American theoretical theorist, the late John Archibald Wheeler, once said, “As the island of our knowledge grows, so does the shoreline of our ignorance.” What is true of science is equally true in matters of faith; the more we come to know and understand, the more we realize how little we know and how much more remains to be experienced and understood. Motion does not exist without energy. Keep leaning forward in faith.
“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives” (Hebrews 2:14-15).
From the dawning of creation the base fear of humanity is the thought of death — considered the greatest of all evils. And while the resurrection of Jesus does not change the fact that everyone of us is going to die a physical death, what it does change is our attitude. In fact, today’s scripture considers the fear of death to be unreasonable. The fear of death isn’t something you have to overcome, it is the very thing that Jesus thing overcame for us.
“And he was saying, ‘Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will’” (Mark 14:36).
This prayer offers a significant lesson regarding the will of God. The struggle is not one of knowing but doing. Like any father, I made my desires and expectations clear to my children. They never had to wring their hands in lost wonderment or plead with me to make my will known. If I, as an imperfect Father, was able to communicate my expectations of obedience to my children, then how much more effectively has our Heavenly Father made his will known through his Word. Like Jesus, our prayerful battle is not one of knowing but doing.
“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations” (Matthew 1:17)
Among the first fourteen generations listed in the genealogy of Jesus(v.2-6), we would be surprised to find four names — Tamar, a Canaanite, who played the harlot; Rahab, a harlot; Ruth, a Moabite; and, Bathsheba, a Hittite by marriage. Instead of our self-righteousness explaining these away with something like, “Well, it’s for the likes of these for whom Christ died,” a greater truth is that it’s such as these from whom Christ came. Reading the genealogies remind us that racial and religious purity has never defined the people of God; that flawed people make the best saints; that God’s sovereign purposes will always prevail over human sin and weakness. We come from a long history of brokenness. Stay faithful!
“He answered, ‘The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went away and washed, and I received sight’” (John 9:11).
The power of your story isn’t dependent upon you, but rather, who it is that abides in you. It’s not your skills of rhetoric, your intellectual prowess, or the ability to weave a good story; it’s that both the Gospel Story and the Storyteller dwell in you. We must give God the chance to communicate through our story. No one else can speak for you.