Today I was reading John 11 and two things struck me. John 11 tells the story of the death and raising of Lazarus. First, when Jesus sees Mary and Martha weeping, their pain and sadness, he was deeply moved and wept. John writes, “When Jesus saw her [Mary] weeping,…, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.” I do not believe that Jesus was weeping over the death of Lazarus because he knew before Lazarus died that he would be raised. For Jesus told his disciples, “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.” He was weeping for the pain of his friends. Our God and Savior knows our pain and hurts and troubles. And he weeps with us. We are never alone in our suffering. And the great thing is that in him there is hope and compassion. What other god offers this?
The second thing I noticed was that so many times followers of Christ show examples of obedience and faith, but they also show the opposite. When Jesus tells the disciples they are going back to Bethany so that he can awake Lazarus they rebuke him because Bethany is close to Jerusalem and the Pharisees were watching for him to kill him. I can understand why they did not want to go…they did not want Jesus to be killed – or themselves. Twice Jesus corrects their rebukes. Then Martha, after proclaiming that whatever Jesus asks for God will give him, tells him not to roll away the stone covering the tomb of Lazarus because after being dead for four days there would be an odor. Jesus’ reply is “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” Time and time again he has to tell people more than once to do something. How many times does he have to tell me to do something. Wouldn’t life be so much easier and less stressful if I just did what was asked or commanded of me. Wouldn’t life be simpler if I took comfort in knowing that God has put me where He wants me and that He must know that I can do and/or handle whatever He has placed in front of me? I do not want to doubt or question or fear or worry about any situation – my God is before me and He knows the end result before it happens.
All of this reminded me of the hymn “Trust and Obey”:
What a glory He sheds on our way! Let us do His good will
He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet We will sit at His feet
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way; What He says we will do,
Where he sends we will go; Never fear, only trust and obey.