When Life is Spiraling Out of Control…

He lay in his bed gasping for air, too weak to move. He was dying. He could feel it, could see it in his sisters’ eyes. Mary sat beside him, tears running down her face as she bathed his forehead with a cool cloth. His lips moved and Mary leaned in close.

“What is it?”

“Jesus.” Lazarus worked hard to get the word out.

Mary stood. “Martha,” she called. “Send for Jesus.”

Time moved slowly as they waited for their friend to arrive. Minutes passed, then hours, then days. Jesus didn’t come.

Why isn’t he here yet? they wondered.

Then, the man in the bed gasped his last. All was quiet.

Still, no sign of Jesus.

Jesus didn’t come when the sisters called for him. Jesus didn’t come when Lazarus died. Jesus didn’t even come for the funeral.

Some friend.

It wasn’t until four days after the burial that he finally came. There was no excuse for it, as far as anyone could tell. He hadn’t been held up anywhere. He had simply chosen to take his time.

When word came that Jesus was finally on his way, Martha pulled herself together and went to meet him. Mary, on the other hand, stayed home. Although she normally put aside her duties so she could hang on to Jesus’ every word, today she did not run to be with him.

It’s a hard thing to be disappointed in God. It’s a hard thing when He doesn’t show up at the time or in the way that we expect.

Have you been there?

Maybe you’re having difficulties in your marriage. Maybe you or your spouse has lost a job. Maybe you’re facing a health issue. For me, it has been all of those things, one after another after another.

When God doesn’t seem to show up, it’s so very easy to get angry and pull away from Him. Where are you? If only You had been there!

I don’t understand why things happen the way they do. But I do know this: when things get bad, there is only one person to run to.

Mary and Martha got this. Although Mary didn’t go with Martha to meet Jesus, the Bible says that later, when He asked for her, she “got up quickly and went to Him” (John 11:29). Despite their hurt and anger and despite the fact that they didn’t understand His actions, Mary and Martha still knew that Jesus was the only One they could turn to. And so they did.

As the three of them stood in front of the grave, it was Jesus who began to cry. I think that He cried as much for the brother who had died as for the sisters who were left. I think that He cried for all the pain and doubt that His friends were feeling. And I think that He cried because He had to let this happen. He had to let this happen.

When His tears were spent, He spoke.

“Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

Then Jesus began to pray. When He was finished, He turned towards the grave and called with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

Lazarus came out.

Although it didn’t seem like it at the time, there was a reason that Jesus took so long to show up. It was so He could perform a miracle. Not just any miracle. The miracle of all miracles. The raising of the dead.

When life is spiraling out of our control, we need to remind ourselves that God is in control. Sometimes, He allows things to happen. Why? Because the greater the problem, the greater the miracle. The greater the miracle, the greater the glory.

“Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

It might not be at the time or in the way that we expect, but keep the faith.

He’s on His way.

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