Do you ever feel like God is not there when you need Him? Have you ever felt like your prayers are hitting a glass ceiling? When you pray for healing, and it doesn’t happen, it’s easy to think God must not be there.
There were two sisters named Mary and Martha in the Bible that experienced this first hand. Their brother Lazarus had been very sick, so the two sisters sent for Jesus to come. They had seen Jesus heal others, and they just knew He would heal their brother. Jesus was several days travel away, but he didn’t leave right away, and Lazarus died. By the time Jesus got there, Lazarus had been dead for four days. I can only imagine the utter devastation that Lazarus’ sisters must have felt. Here the man who had been healing the sick did not choose to heal their brother and did not even show up until four days after his death! (John 11) What kind of friend (and God!) was He?
The Bible specifically says that Jesus loved Lazarus (verse 5) so, why did Jesus allow Lazarus to suffer and die if he loved him? Why does God allow us today to go through suffering if He loves us? That is probably one of the hardest questions to answer and is even harder to understand when you are the one suffering. Many times Jesus has a bigger purpose in mind for us just like He did for Lazarus. Jesus wanted the people of His day to know that not only did He have the power to heal the sick, but He also had the power to raise Lazarus from the dead, and that is exactly what He did! He brought Lazarus back from the dead after having been in the grave for four days!
But Mary and Martha didn’t know Jesus was going to do that. When Martha approached Jesus after He first arrived, she said, “Lord, if you had only been here my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” She wanted Jesus (the man) to ask God to bring Lazarus back, but Jesus wanted her to know that she was speaking to God right before her very eyes, and so He said to her:
“I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies [physically]; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die [spiritually].” (John 11:25)
Jesus used the same words that God had used in the days of Moses to describe Himself: “I AM!” Those two little words embody everything Jesus wanted Martha to understand about Himself. I AM not just able to heal or raise your brother to life right now–I AM able to give you life in heaven some day, if you will believe in me! He asked Martha, “Do you believe this?”
Jesus wants us to know and understand the very same thing today in the midst of our pain and suffering. He may not heal us physically because He wants us to see God’s power in a different, bigger way. He can use this very sickness to bring us to an encounter with Him in a way that we would never have experienced if we had been healthy. But more importantly, He wants to heal our hearts, not just our bodies, because He knows that spiritual healing is much more important than physical healing. Our eternal destiny is much more important than our current comfort.
It is easy to get angry at God as Lazarus’ sisters did when Jesus did not come in time to heal their brother before he died. Or we can choose instead to trust that He has a different plan in mind and that we are going to get to see God in a bigger and better way in our lives. This is a choice, and it definitely involves trust on our part. You might be asking, “How do we trust a God that would choose not to heal in the midst of suffering?” I would like to propose that the question should be: How can we choose NOT to trust in a God that offers us eternal life with Him even though we did nothing to deserve it? You might still be questioning how we know that God will come through for us. The answer is found in those two words–because He is the I AM. He created everything you see, including the life you live and breathe, and He will be I AM for you, too. He is and will be everything you need. He asks us the same question He asked Martha, “Do you believe this?”
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Hi! My Name is Laurie, and I am a wife, mom, nurse, and patient living with fibromyalgia. I understand first-hand what life is like with chronic pain and illness. My passion is to help provide others with the spiritual encouragement and resources that I so desperately needed when I was first diagnosed. Please join us on the blog and Facebook page for regular encouragement and hope. Welcome!