As the crowded house began to close in on her Martha went outside to get some air.
A man came running up to her. “Jesus is coming with His men.”
She made a bee line for the city gate and met Jesus just beyond it. “Lord, if You had been here Lazarus would still be alive. But, I know You can ask God for anything and get a response.”
Jesus smiled. “Lazarus will rise again.”
Martha peered into His eyes. “I know he will on the Resurrection Day to come, but…”
“I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will never die, even if he’s dead already. Do you believe Me?”
“Yes, Lord. I believe You are the Messiah.” She stood and held up one hand. “Wait here.”
Martha ran back to the house and pushed her way to Mary. “He’s outside the gate and He’s asking for you.”
Mary stared for a few seconds. Then, she wiped her tears away and ran for the city gate. when she reached Jesus she fell at His feet. “Lord, if you were here Lazarus would still be alive.”
Jesus studied her sobs, then, He looked up and saw the mourners who followed her. “Where is he now?”
A man motioned with his arm. “Right this way.”
When Jesus looked down at Mary tears fell to the ground. He lifted her to her feet and led them to the grave.
A woman in the crowd grabbed the sleeve of the man next to her. “See how much He loves this family?”
The man nodded. “I saw Him heal a blind man. If He’d been here Lazarus would still be alive.”
Bethany is the name of the town Martha and her siblings lived in. It sat about two miles east of Jerusalem. The important Jewish celebration of Passover was a bit over a week away, so people were already filling the area as the entire nation came to the temple.
News of this death would have brought even more people to Bethany to help the sisters mourn the passing of their little brother. I imagine the house would have been packed like a can of sardines. Then Jesus came with His entourage from east of the Jordan River.
His popularity was on the rise as those people believed He fulfilled the prophesies of John the baptizer. Why not come to the Passover with the promised Messiah? I know I would have. They all believed the same thing.
Whenever you see repetition in the Bible it’s used to make a point. Three times in this account it’s noted that people expected Lazarus to still be alive if Jesus hadn’t been absent. They all knew Jesus could heal him from his sickness, their faith was that good. But, Jesus was about to make their faith great.
This same Jesus is growing people’s faith today. When you saw Him meet your small need last time He was preparing you to accept the bigger response this time. It’s not to make your life more difficult, it’s so you’ll trust Him more.
Think of it as an employment situation. You faithfully show up to work each day and do the best you can with your assignments. One day your boss has a new task for somebody to do. Your name comes to mind as one who can handle this project because of what you’ve proved capable of in the past.
God is preparing you for His assignment. He’ll reveal that job to you when He sees you’re ready for it. Until then He’ll mold you into the person you need to be. Accept these obstacles now as tests to help you grow and you’ll expect to see God’s fruit in the end of this road you’re on.
Take on small assignments as they become available to test yourself in your abilities. Most churches have a need for more Sunday school teachers for children. Help out teachers in various age groups to see which one is the best fit for you. If there was an age that your own children seemed to click with you that would be a good indication of where God intends to use you for His glory.
Don’t sit on the sidelines while you watch a need being unfilled. Get in the game and see if you can fill it. You never know when this small assignment you’re taking on is God’s big assignment for you after all.
I’ve put these principles into practice in my own life. I’m confident God wants me to write fiction that leads people to Him. I have a couple of manuscripts that are nearly ready for publication. I’ve sent them out to some small publishers and agents.
While I’m waiting for responses from those efforts I developed this blog. Not only has the weekly regimen of posting here benefited me by improving my writing, I’m also developing a following of people attracted to writing that points them to God through Jesus. That will look more attractive to a publisher when my work comes across their desk.
I’ve also written a few magazine articles that have appeared in a local, non-paying periodical. Not my end result I’m hoping for, but, steps in that direction. Small steps along the road that will bring their own fruit and bring me closer to God’s bigger calling.
So, don’t limit your expectations of what God can do by your past experience, but, use that knowledge to build your faith to the next level. That’s what this life is all about, becoming more like Christ by growing in faith and daring in our Christian walk.
A river that doesn’t flow becomes stagnant and dead. Active rivers get more added to them as they travel along to their destination. When you get to the point of emptying into your heavenly dwelling do you want to be alive, or reek of dead fish?
Like I said before, get off the bench and get in the game.
I’ll see you later. Wade