We studied one of the most powerful stories in the Bible at BSF this week, the miracle of Christ resurrecting Lazarus from the dead in John 11. Obviously, there’s a lot of rich text here to study, but there was one thing that struck me most:
Jesus is upset over the reality of sin and death and the pain and suffering that comes from it. Then and now. He had the power to spare his friends (he did spend a lot of time with Lazarus and his two sisters Mary and Martha) the sorrow Lazarus’ death caused his sisters and even himself. But he didn’t. Because there was a greater purpose, to bring glory to God and stretch their faith in Him. I know I am often angry or saddened about a situation or circumstance that I seem helpless to change (such as the devastation in Haiti, although most examples would be less selfless!). It helps me to be reminded not to direct that anger toward God, because Jesus is troubled, too. It’s not that he doesn’t desire to relieve us from those situations, but often God allows things into our lives to help us grow in faith or simply to bring glory to Him. Our leader said this and it stuck with me:
Interpret your circumstances through Christ’s love, don’t interpret Christ’s love through your circumstances.
I’m challenged to be looking to God to empower me through what seem to be life’s impossible situations or to grow and learn and trust with all my heart in Him no matter what my disappointment … To look for a blessing in the trial so as to not waste the suffering. How can I glorify God through my experiences? Seek His will and not my own.
In John 11:9-11, Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.”
According to BSF study notes (paraphrased): Jesus emphasizes that the Lord’s children must walk in God’s light to finish God’s work, whatever the circumstances. The 12 hours of daylight represent the life span for each of His children to finish the work He has appointed for them. To walk by day is to walk according to God’s will. The danger comes when we seek our own will, which would be to walk by night, when we are likely to stumble. By remaining in His will, however, we have His protection.
Certainly takes some perspective. But like a eagle that rides the currents higher during a storm than is ever possible otherwise, those who trust in times of trouble can fly higher in their faith.
“When he had heard [of Lazarus’ illness] Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.’ John 11:4