When God Can’t Be Trusted
Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. John 11:39 (KJV)
I grew up hearing the stories of those who followed God to be missionaries in far-off, exotic places. As a child, it sounded exciting, but as I got older, I realized that I liked my comfortable life. I developed this fear that if I truly followed God, he would send me to live somewhere with no electricity or restaurants. I liked my way of life and the idea of being radically obedient to God seemed to threaten that. If I wanted to live my way, then God couldn’t really be trusted as he would probably turn me into a Bible thumper or a religious nut. I still sometimes, distrust God’s plan.
In today’s passage, Martha too, questioned Jesus’ plan. Her dead brother had been in his tomb for four days when Jesus finally showed up. Jesus was supposed to save him, but he came too late and now, he stood outside Lazarus’ tomb, asking that the stone be rolled away. Martha protested, “Please don’t make this worse Jesus. It’s too late. He’s already dead and rotting (my paraphrase).”
As is often the case with us, Martha couldn’t see God’s plan. The reality that she was convinced she knew, prevented her from trusting Jesus. She could hardly be blamed. Martha knew that a dead body stinks. She wasn’t being faithless. She was just being pragmatic.
This is often our approach to God’s plan. I’m sure your way is great God, but it just doesn’t fit with how things really work. I can’t perform miracles. I’ve got to be practical and reasonable. I’d better follow my path here as it appears you just cannot be trusted.
We often live in fear that following God out of our disaster will take our lives in a direction we don’t want to go. So, we just don’t completely trust him. For many of us, it’s not until we’re so sick of our own way, that we become willing to surrender to God’s way. We may think God’s plan stinks, but at some point, when we’ve realized how desperate we are to escape our way of life, we must accept God’s plan as the only one worthy of trusting and following, even when if doesn’t make any sense to us.