It Happened For The Glory Of God

Tragedy had struck the beloved brother of Mary and Martha, dear friends of Jesus had become critically ill. Fearful and grief-stricken, the sisters sent word to Jesus, knowing that He could make things right again.

But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus's sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this. John 11:4 (NLT)

Now this is the place where you would expect Jesus to immediately rush to the side of his friend. That's what I did several years ago when I received word one evening that a dear friend had hospitalized due to pneumonia and had been intubated. Although my friends lived 500 miles away from us, my husband was looking up rental car information and checking out flights for me before I even got off the phone. He couldn't go but he could and would send me and I drove down the very next day. Why? Because these were my friends. I loved them and wanted to be a help and support to them in their time of trouble.

This is not what Jesus did. The Bible tells us that although Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus,He waited two days before telling His disciples they were going to go back to Judea. (John 11:5-7) Furthermore, Jesus revealed at this time that Lazarus had died.

Oh the grief that the sisters must have felt! Jesus who they loved so much and who they believed loved them as well, had failed them. He who had healed the sick had not come when they sought his help and now their beloved brother was dead. In addition to their grief, there was another problem they were facing. In the world of the first century, when an unmarried woman lost a brother, the economic and social ramifications were much more severe than they are in the western world today. We don't know how old the sisters were but as no father is ever mentioned and we know they resided with their brother,it is safe to assume that they were under his care and protection. Now their male protector was gone and even in the Middle East today, that's a serious problem.

It seemed like Jesus had failed them. He had been wrong.Lazarus' sickness had ended in death and there had been no glory.Jesus had eventually come but it was too late and now it was all over. It was the end of the story... or was it?

You can read the details of the rest of the story for yourself in the 11th chapter of John but though death had come, it was not the end of the story by any means and God does receive the glory. In fact, while studying this passage I discovered something I had never noticed before in the following chapter. The leading priests were not only plotting to kill Jesus, they were now also plotting to kill Lazarus (John 12:10-11). Why? Because his testimony was causing many to believe in Jesus. God had not failed Mary, Martha and Lazarus. He had something far greater in mind than what they could have ever imagined.

Mary and Martha couldn't see that on the dark days when they stood beside his tomb. The only things they could see was death, sorrow, loneliness, loss, uncertainty, anxiety and other such things. They could not see the glory of God in this and indeed wondered where He was, why He had not come and why there was silence. Didn't He even care? He did and in fact, the Bible tells us that Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus (John 11:35). Jesus wept then and He still weeps over our griefs today.

It happened for the glory of God. We might not see that glory today or even tomorrow we must learn to see through the eyes of faith and trust God no matter what. We will understand it better by and by.

We are tossed and driven on the restless sea of time;
somber skies and howling tempests oft succeed a bright sunshine;
in that land of perfect day,
when the mists are rolled away,
we will understand it better by and by.

By and by, when the morning comes,
when the saints of God are gathered home,
we'll tell the story how we've overcome,
for we'll understand it better by and by.

We are often destitute
of the things that life demands,
want of food and want of shelter,
thirsty hills and barren lands;
we are trusting in the Lord,
and according to God's word,
we will understand it better by and by.

Trials dark on every hand,
and we cannot understand
all the ways of God would lead us
to that blessed promised land;
but he guides us with his eye,
and we'll follow till we die,
for we'll understand it better by and by.

Temptations, hidden snares
often take us unawares,
and our hearts are made to bleed
for a thoughtless word or deed;
and we wonder why the test
when we try to do our best,
but we'll understand it better by and by.

Scripture quotation taken from theHoly Bible, New Living Translation copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois, 60188.All rights reserved.

"We'll Understand It Better By and By" by Charles Albert Tindley, Public Domain.

Les Braswell @doneuntotheleast ·

Amen. Love the word you shared and this passage ... thank you K. In Him, Les


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