In meditating through the story of Lazarus’s death and resurrection (Jn. 11), several poignant lessons can be learned that help to explain the mysterious workings of God that often make no sense in this life:
- We are expendable for the glory of God : “But when Jesus heard about [Lazarus’s death] he said, ‘Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this’ ” (vs. 4).
- We are presumptuous in attempting to advise or second-guess God’s method of operation: “…[Jesus] said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” “But Rabbi,” the [disciples] said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there again?” ‘Roll the stone aside,’ Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man’s sister protested, ‘Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible ’” (vss. 7, 8,12, 39)
- God operates on His timetable, not ours: “ So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days…And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him…When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days…Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died ’ (vss. 5,6,15, 17, 21).
- Jesus’ strategy boggles our “rational” thinking: “ But some of them said, ‘This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying? ’” (vs.37)
“’… My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isa. 55:8b).
CONCLUSION : One of our greatest problems in life is our refusal to allow God to transform our minds to conform to his. (Rom. 12:2) Until we do, we will constantly waffle between viewing life through a temporal or an eternal lens. “ That sort of man cannot hope to receive anything from the Lord, and the life of a man of divided loyalty will reveal instability at every turn.” (Jms. 1:8 – Phil. Trans.)
QUESTION : On which side of the temporal, eternal ledger are you choosing to live?
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill