How to respond when circumstances are confusing
As we move from here to there, you might find yourself in a confusing situation, where you have no idea why God would allow certain things to happen to you, to your family, business, or to your dreams.
Let us look at a story in the bible of a family that truly loved God but yet found themselves in a confusing situation. And we may learn a thing or two on how to respond when you are in a difficult situation.
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11 Now a certain man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village where Mary and her sister Martha lived. 2 It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.
The story begins by addressing the kind of relationship this family had with Jesus, and it’s not just how they love Him but the fact that they knew Jesus absolutely loved them especially He loved Lazarus.
And we know this because of the word the sisters sent to Jesus in verse 3, 3 saying, “Lord, whom you love is sick.”
This is important for us to know because it helps burst myths, myths that pastors have preached, saying that if you love God and God loves you back nothing can happen to you. This is not true! As long as we are here on earth we are bound to go through challenges we are not immune to challenges.
People have left faith, people have left God, most of them blame God for allowing them to go through tough situations, and they think that if God says He loves them how would He allow this to happen to them.
And maybe some of you are there today; you’re in a situation and wondering how a God who loves you could allow it to happen to you.
The true friend is that loving God and God-loving your back doesn’t make you immune to challenges. And as we move from here to there, I want you to understand that circumstances don’t change the way God loves you.
Even though loving God does not make you immune to challenges –Loving God and knowing that God loves you gives you courage and confidence when going through circumstances.
When we go through a tough situation we need to know that God completely loves us.
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I love how short Mary and Martha’s prayer was- Lord, he whom you love is sick.
I heard this phrase from John Curson, God gives the best to those who live the choice to Him.
The sister did not command Jesus to come, they didn’t even pray for healing, and they knew Jesus could heal Him even from a distance but they chose to live the choice with Him.
Let me ask us this morning, how many times how you found yourself commanding Jesus to do something. Most of our prayer goes something like… Lord, I want you to…
Mary and Martha knew that Jesus not only loved them but He loved Lazarus and when He hears about His sickness Jesus would do what’s best for him.
We need to settle in our heart as we move from here to there, that God knows what’s best for us. God will always do what gives Him glory, the question is, can you settle for God’s glory?
Am I okay, when I don’t receive what I want but the situation gives God glory.
John piper says, God Is Most Glorified in Us When We Are Most Satisfied in Him
Are we willing this year, as we move from here to there, to settle on God getting the glory? I bet Martha and Mary wanted Lazarus to be healed, and they knew that Jesus had the power to heal him.
Bu they left the choice with Him.
4 When he heard this, 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.”
This verse shows us that Jesus saw Lazarus sickness from a different angle, His perspective about Lazarus sickness was totally different from the families’ perspective.
When going through a tough situation you will be tempted to interpret the love of God through the lens of your situation. And most of the time you will have a distorted view of God.
We must interpret the situation through the lens of God’s love.
When you are faced with a confusing situation God’s perspective is vital.
Verse 5: 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
When you view this statement in line of what was happening, and because in our human perspective, we translate love based on the urgency of response, you might interpret that Jesus didn’t love this family.
Not understanding God’s perspective about a situation might cause a distorted view of God.
Assume you have an emergency who you call, I can tell you with certainty that the person you will call is the person you think will show up a person that you know cares about you, someone that will leave everything and respond to your need or at least find a way of getting you help…right…
But what happens when that person sends you a text and says he can’t make it, he will come two days later. How will you interpret that….
One- For some of us that will be the end of that friendship
Two- I will think they don’t love me anymore
Three- Maybe they had something more important to do.
Mary and Martha found themselves having an emergency and they knew that the one person they could rely on was Jesus, and they sent information to Him. But when Jesus heard about their situation, He stayed two more days, it begs you and I to ask why Jesus would do this, John gives us an answer in verse 4: 4 When he heard this, 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.”
7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
As we read this portion of scripture we know that Jesus did everything intentionally, He waited for Lazarus to die; it was an intentional move that would benefit not only the family but His disciples.
Lazarus’ situation provides an opportunity for Jesus to show His disciples something known that will change and set in motion a movement.
16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus
17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”