John 11:17-27

During the season of Lent our devotions have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s writer is Terri Schlather.

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home.

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” John 11:17-27

Every time I’ve read or heard this passage from John, the focus has always been the proclamation by Jesus. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25).

It’s an important part of our faith to understand what faith can do, but the part of this story that gets less airtime is that of grief.

Martha and Mary told Jesus that Lazarus was sick in hope that he would save him, but four days after his death, Lazarus was beyond saving and they began to grieve. Even in grief, when asked if she believes, Martha replies, “Yes, Lord.”

How often have we asked ourselves why bad things happen to good people? Martha and Mary were grieving. Something bad had happened to them. Lazarus had died while they were waiting for Jesus to come. They had no hope, despite their faith, but Jesus challenges Martha’s faith and she responds that she believes.

It is that faith in which she must trust Jesus and push through the grief to know that he who believes will live.

When life is hard, challenges are raised up, and things seem bleak, we wonder what happened. Yet, how often is our faith strengthened in these times? How often during trials do we finally lean on God, finally remember that he is in control and not us, finally turn to our Father, and grow in our belief?

Overcoming challenges, tribulations, and grief in our life isn’t about solving the problem or forgetting the problem, it’s about remembering what we believe and who is leading our life…and it’s certainly not us.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, I often forget that you are in charge of my life and that I am not. Help me to trust in my faith and trust in you as I go about my day. Help me to remember that my salvation is not found in the things I do or the successes I have, but in my faith in you. Thank you for loving me as your child and giving your son to save me. Amen.

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