Disaster will strike. Death is highly likely. What to do? One of the things that Scripture teaches us is not to wait until the day of disaster and then try and figure out how to handle it. If we live like that, chances are we will run in the wrong direction.
When Lazarus died, Mary and Martha knew what to do and where to go. They may not have known much else and they may have been uncertain about the kind of reception they would get, but this they did: They ran to Jesus.
We live in a world that ignores God when the going is good and becomes instantly bitter with God the moment things go wrong.
Disasters strike and if we are not prepared, they unhinge us. Grief comes and we are not ready.
We like to think that we have some control over a predictable world. We have none.
Jesus sympathises with our pain and our weakness. More than that, He determines the seasons of our grief, He designs the days of disaster and He offers Himself as our shelter.
First, God became a man and shared our grief.
…a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief… Surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:3-4)
Second, He also takes the responsibility for restoring our joy.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.
The Lord could have chosen to prevent the death of Lazarus, but instead, for our sakes, He chose to overcome death and bring Lazarus out of the grave: An event that no other grief counsellor has been able to copy.
Moreover, when Jesus called Lazarus out of the grave, Lazarus did not, from the surrounding evidence, conclude that he was alive. He simply came forth. These are the actions of true sheep. When called forward, they take a step toward Him. Despite the circumstances.
We don’t want death, we don’t like grief. But here we are. And here is Jesus. Calling to life those things which are stricken. Bringing joy to those in grief.
Our faith does not rest on our evaluation of the evidence. Our faith rests in the power of God. Our eyes are not on the bones or the bodies; our eyes are on God.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)
Man cannot find out all that is behind him and before him. No amount of investigation will lead men to “figure out” the universe and the wonderful works of God. These works have been hidden from our site (Ecclesiastes 7:23-24).
So where do we look for help? We are taught to keep our eyes fixed, in fear, trembling and eager anticipation, upon God.
Jesus has power over life and death. He is God. Ours is to believe and live out what we believe. To look to God in times of sorrow as well as times of joy. To see His hand in the drought, and in the storm. To wait for Him to deliver us, comfort us and raise us up.
Which He will.