When someone we care about has an illness or health crisis, it’s very difficult to watch them suffer. We hurt, because they hurt. We are concerned over whether they will get well or not. We pray for healing, but sometimes it isn’t God’s will to heal.
Lazarus, Mary and Martha were friends of Jesus. In fact, the Bible records that it was this Mary that anointed Jesus with oil and wiped His feet with her hair. When Lazarus became sick, his sisters did the only thing they knew to do – they sent for Jesus. They had complete faith that Jesus could heal him. We don’t find Jesus dropping everything and heading on over to Bethany as quickly as he can. He already knew what He was going to do and why, and in order to fulfill His will, it meant that Lazarus must die first. So Jesus hangs out where He was for another two days. Then He says to His disciples, “Let’s go to Judea.”
For the disciples, there was great concern for Jesus heading back to Judea. The last time Jesus was there, the Jews sought to stone him. They try to remind Jesus of that and they say, “And you want to go back there?! Really?”
So Jesus tells them that Lazarus has fallen asleep and that He must go wake Him up. Still worried for Jesus’ safety, the disciples reply, “That’s a good thing. Let’s let him sleep. If he is sleeping he will get well.” So Jesus bluntly informs them that Lazarus is dead. He then tells them that it was a good thing that He did not go to Lazarus and that he had died so that the disciples would believe.
The miracle of raising Lazarus from dead anticipated Jesus’ own resurrection. In John 11:25, Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life.” By raising Lazarus from the dead, rather than just healing him, Jesus gave proof to His words. So as puzzling as it may seem for Jesus to linger where he was for two days before coming to Bethany, it served to reveal God’s glory and to show the people an even harder miracle. One that would prepare them for the day when Jesus would be resurrected from the dead after the cross.
I am sure Mary and Martha were confused and maybe even hurt that Jesus didn’t come when they asked Him to. In fact in verse 21, Martha says to Jesus, “If you had come, he would not have died.” But then in faith, she followed the accusation with, “But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” The simple fact is that with Jesus, hopelessness turns into hope and the moment that Jesus arrived, Martha had hope again.
We may not understand why God chooses to heal some people and others are not healed. But we can trust that God is always in control and if He chooses not to heal, then He has a reason and a purpose – one that will bring Him glory. Sometimes, that means our loved ones step out of this world and enter eternity – but what a glorious eternity when spent in the presence of God. Can you imagine Lazarus’ disappointment to leave the glory of heaven and the presence of God to return to this broken world and to have to face death all over again? The Bible doesn’t really tell us Lazarus’ reaction to finding himself back in his mortal body and living again. In fact, because Jesus raised him from the dead, the chief priests began plotting how to kill him – again. But just as His death served a purpose, so did his being raised from the dead.
We may not understand why God chooses to heal some people and others are not healed. But we can trust that God is always in control and if He chooses not to heal, then He has a reason and a purpose – one that will bring Him glory. –click to tweet
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Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities.