“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 11:3–4
A little more than a year ago, after a church service, I was sent into the church office and told by my wife that my brother had died. Her exact words when she told me were, “Honey, Jim died last night.”
It took me a few seconds to actually understand who she was talking about. I know a lot of men named Jim, it is the most commonly used man’s name in the english language, but once it occurred to me that she might be talking about my brother and I looked in her face I knew that was who she was talking about.
When Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus was sick the words of the messenger were even more none specific than my wife’s were to me about my brother’s death. While I may know a few dozen men named Jim there are only a few whose death would be personally important enough for me to be pulled aside so that I could be privately told about it. But when Jesus was told of Lazarus’ illness the messengers words were, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”
Jesus loved everybody! But still he knew who they were talking about. Jesus’ relationship with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha must have been very special. I’m guessing it was their love for him and the companionship they gave to him that set this relationship apart. In the short years of his ministry Jesus poured his love into many lives but few seem to have been inclined to endeavor to return the love they received. Lazarus and his sisters seem to be one of those exceptions.
But there was another whose calling directed the actions of the Savior’s life. His love for Lazarus might have been enough for him to drop everything and go, but his devotion to his Father was such that nothing else could ever take precedence over him, and the Spirit directed him that he was not yet to go.
So Jesus turned to the messengers and told them, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” And returned to his work among the people.
Do we trust God completely with the lives and welfare of our loved ones? We can, and we should. God’s promised that he won’t let anything come upon us, or them, except what is for our good and his glory and that he will provide a way for us to stand or escape from any trials. Because of our Heavenly Father’s love and care we have nothing to fear. Yes, difficulties will come. Heart breaks will touch our lives but in everything God remains sovereign; his love remains intact and his will unthwarted.
Do we trust him? Will we, in the midst of the uncertainty and pain of life, choose to moment by moment trust God completely?