Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
John 11:1-6 ESV
In John 11 we get to see how Jesus responds to the death of dear friends. Verse 5 made it clear that he responds out of love, for the one dying and for the ones he’s leaving behind, but the love he has leads him to respond in an unpredictable way. He stays right where he is for two more days before heading towards Lazarus.
Lazarus will die before Jesus gets there. Martha, who Jesus loves, will lose hope in ever seeing Lazarus alive in this life again. But Jesus had already given the disciples a clue into what he was doing in verse 4. “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Jesus doesn’t waste opportunities to reveal himself as the supreme treasure in this world. It would be hateful of him to do so. This life of mine, with all it’s guaranteed suffering, is not an illness leading to death, and he has assured me of that. He may not respond to my suffering the way I think he should, or when I think he should, but he does respond to my suffering so as to magnify himself as the best object of my adoration.
Jesus, you hold all health and comfort in your hands, and my life is well-spent if all I reach for is you. Help me trust you with how and when you restore me. You’re building in me a desire for you, which is more important than my health, or the health of my loved ones, or any other comfort in this life. I know you love me and that everything you do is for my good, so help me trust you with the timing and learn quickly of your glory.
This post is part of my Weekly REAP series. I’m posting these from my personal journal to share what God is teaching me, and to give some practical examples of the REAP method. I didn’t write any of these with publishing in mind, so forgive me if they don’t always wax eloquent. Here is some more information on the REAP study method.