Bible answers to Your Questions by our Minister
In the book of John, chapter 11, we read of the tragic and sudden death of Jesus’ good friend, Lazarus of Bethany. Throughout the account, the author
observed that Martha was the stronger of the two sisters. She met Jesus ahead of the funeral crowd and expressed deep faith in Jesus and the resurrection (John 11:22-27).
In her brief meeting with our Lord, “Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” (John 11:40). Mary, on the other hand was constantly accompanied by friends during the funeral so that she would not be overwhelmed with grief in her bereavement. Like Martha, her first words to Jesus were to chide Him for taking so long to come to them. Mary said, perhaps in anger or frustration, “if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (John 11:32). Unlike Martha, Mary was so overcome with grief that Jesus was unable to explain God’s plan to her like He did to Martha, but simply wept along with her.
In this touching incident in the life of Jesus, we see how God cares for each one of us in our pain and empathizes deeply with our hurt and loss.
We also find hope that those who have left us are safe in the arms of Jesus. “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in
me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26).
Most of all, we are reminded that in all things, God is in charge and sovereign. Even when we cannot find any reason for the loss of a loved one, especially
one who is taken away so suddenly and quickly, if we understand God’s will, purpose and good pleasure for us in such times, like Job of the Old Testament we can remain steadfast, faithful and secure.
It is as though a large carpet has hovered over our heads and brought darkness and despair to our lives. Looking up, all we can see are a jumble of colour threads, all messy and confused, like our minds are.
Yet if we are looking at it from God’s perspective, not the reverse side of the carpet - it is beautiful, well ordered and carefully designed.
I know that it is difficult to see God’s glory when a loved one is taken away from us so swiftly. But like Martha, we need to be reminded that our Christian walk is not about us, our wants and our future. It has always been about God, His good pleasure and purpose for us.
In Philippians 2:13, Paul tells us that “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” For the Christian, nothing is more
important for us than to understand this and allow our lives to be submitted to God’s good pleasure.
Make no mistake about this: God’s purpose will be done. There is no force in the world that can circumvent it. It will be done with or without our participation. As for me and my house, I want to be used by God for His good pleasure.
God is the potter, and we are the clay. In order for us to be God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), we must be willing to deny ourselves, carry the cross and follow Him. But when we harden our hearts, God cannot use us because hard clay is brittle and cannot be conformed to His image. In driving home this point, Paul asks in Romans 9:21, “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”
God will be God.
Isaiah 55:9 puts it this way, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Let God be God. Whether we sense Him at work or not, the world is turning in the way it should and God is still in charge.
There is no clear reason now for the loss of a loved one, a baby born with defects or the millions of hungry children in this world. Much of it is the result of sin, man’s selfishness and our fallen world. One of these days, when our lives are over, like Paul we can say, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
In the meantime, hold on and trust God. Like Job, the end will be better!