Are you afraid it’s too late? Is there a relationship, calling, promise, or dream dying right before your eyes? Maybe you’ve been walking through the valley for so long now you fear even your faith has flat lined. I mean, where IS Jesus anyway? He’s been gone too long. And worse yet, there’s a crowd of family and well meaning friends insisting you give up and move on.
I get it. Sometimes that is good advice. We all need discernment to know when to let go of one thing to grab a hold of another.
But sometimes good advice in one season is bad advice in another.
Mary and Martha must have felt it was too late when their brother, Lazarus, died. Not only had he died, but he had been dead for four days when Jesus finally made it back to town. By the time he got there, Lazarus’s decaying body held a horrible stench and a crowd of family and friends had been gathered for several days comforting them.
What happened next is one of Jesus’s most memorable miracles. He literally raised Lazarus from the dead.
It’s interesting that Jesus waited four days to come back. I think this happened for a couple of reasons. One, he wanted people to know that Lazarus was absolutely dead. His dead body lay rotting. It was too late for human intervention. Lazarus was only brought to life by the power of the Living God!
When Mary protested that the body was too far gone, Jesus replied, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” John 11:40
God specializes in the impossible so that He is glorified. When He is glorified, His beauty and power is magnified in the world. In this scene, Jesus tests Mary’s belief. Jesus often challenges His followers to not only believe IN Him, but to believe Him. Our belief that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do, empowers us to persevere through the process. When we put all of our hope and trust in Him, we give Him full access to our lives and experience the wonder of His love and power.
Two, Jesus positioned the timing so that many people would see the miracle and would believe.
“Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in Him.” John 11:45
Sometimes Jesus waits for a crowd so they can witness Him raise that dead thing to life! There’s purpose in divine delay.
When we are discouraged and dismayed, we must be diligent to pray and lean into the Word of God before we make a decision. What is the Holy Spirit saying? Many times we run to our friends first for advice, but just because the crowd is saying the same thing doesn’t make it true. A friend recently said,
“Prayer should be our first response, not our last resort.”
Mary and Martha grieved before their miracle. It can feel the most hopeless right before the biggest breakthrough. The Lord doesn’t just break us through something hard, He breaks us INTO something good. Your breakthrough is coming and when it does, everyone will know Jesus did it! Your testimony will draw a crowd and He will be glorified in your story.
I don’t know what season you’re in. but I do know that hard seasons are an opportunity to grow your faith. They tell you what you really believe. Jesus is asking you, “Do you believe Me?” That question is an invitation to sit at His feet and learn from Him about who He is and who you are in Him. You can trust Him. He is who He says He is. He will do what He says He will do.
He raises dead things to life.