Imagine that someone you loved was dying, so you picked up the phone to call for emergency help and rather than rushing to help, they scheduled an appointment for a few days later.
This is basically what happened with a man named Lazarus. He was ill and dying. His sister brought word to Jesus Christ of his fate. But, rather than hurrying, we find Jesus waiting a few days before beginning the long journey to the bedside of Lazarus, who would be dead by the time He arrived.
John 11:6-7 reports, “So, when he [Jesus] heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” Confused at the Lord’s timing we read in John 11:21 that Lazarus’ sister, “Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” We read of the other sister in John 11:32, “Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
If you are honest, you have probably felt the same as these grieving sisters. If God would have simply shown up and done what He can do, things would be different. Suffering, injustice, and even death could have been stopped. Why? John 11 is clear that Jesus loved Lazarus and did not run to help him. Why does God sometimes not show up in time to help us if he loves us?
These are the kinds of questions that the sisters ask in the middle of the story and we ask in the middle of history. The middle is the time of weeping, suffering, dying, and questioning. There are basically five answers to this dilemma:
- Atheism says that there is no God which explains why no One shows up to help
- Eastern thinking says that God is both good and evil so the evil we see is a reflection of the nature of God
- Finite godism says that God does exist and is good but lacks the power to bring about the change that He and we desire
- Deism says that God lives far away and ignores us and our problems by refusing to get involved
- The Bible teaches that we are in the middle of history which is His Story. The end of the story of Lazarus is a preview to the end of history where Jesus shows up, the dead rise, weeping is replaced with rejoicing, and God is glorified forever.
Who or what are you most excited to see Jesus heal or fix forever?