When God Fails You
I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. John 11:25-26
We all have a way in which we expect the world to work. When life doesn’t go the way we want, we become frustrated, angry, hurt, and anxious. In the unknown, we turn to God. Sometimes things turn out the way we hoped, but often life just doesn’t run according to our plans. In the trials, it’s often our tendency to lash out at God. Why God? I prayed. I turned to you in my need, yet you didn’t fix anything. It only got worse. Where were you?
This sentiment echoes that of Martha in today’s passage. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were all siblings whom Jesus loved. In the story, Lazarus became deathly ill and so, his sisters turned to Jesus for help. Jesus told them that this illness would not end in death and he went on his way. Mary and Martha trusted Jesus, but then, Lazarus died anyway, and Jesus still didn’t show up until four days after his burial.
Martha wasn’t happy. If you had been here, my brother would not have died (John 11:21). Where were you? You promised everything would be fine (my paraphrase)! The sisters trusted Jesus, but he’d obviously failed them. It was only natural for them to be angry. Jesus responded by doing the impossible, raising Lazarus from the dead. Before he resurrected Lazarus though, he spoke the words of today’s passage, insisting that all who believed in him would never die.
I am the resurrection and the life. These are the words to which we must cling when life is hard. We often think that trials and death are a failed end. Death though, is door through which we’re all guaranteed to walk. Even Lazarus eventually died again. The question isn’t whether we’ll die, it’s whether we’ll know authentic life on this side of the door. In coming to faith in Christ, we can have a new spiritual life, here and now, that will transcend our physical death.
We will all experience pain, trials, and even death. God doesn’t promise that following him changes any of that. He does promise that we can know authentic joy, transcending peace, and eternal life, even in our trials, if only we will believe in and follow him.
Faith Radio Interview: I recently had the opportunity to do an interview with Bill Arnold and George Fraser on their show Real Recovery. It will air tonight on Faith Radio at 5PM and next Saturday at 3PM. You can tune in locally (Minneapolis listening area) at 97.5FM or visit www.faithradio.com/local-schedules/ where you can find your local station or listen online.