“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “had you been here my brother would not have died.” –John 11:21
If there is one think I wish I had learned sooner in my Christian faith, it is that I can be completely honest with God. For years, I thought that it was possible to say the wrong thing to Him and make Him mad at me. I didn’t know that He was “slow to anger.” I probably read Psalm 103 and went right over that part without even thinking about it.
Jesus was told that Martha’s brother, Lazarus, was sick. He knew that the situation was grave. Everyone around Him was talking about it and trying to prompt Him to do something about it. So, what did He do?
He let him die.
Have you ever been majorly disappointed with God? Have there been situations He could have totally taken care of and it would have been so easy for Him to intervene and save the day? Yet, He chose to do nothing. He let the loved one die. He let someone else have the job. He didn’t cure the cancer. He let me remain sick. You get the picture.
Martha was right in the middle of one of these situations. She sent word to Jesus that her brother was sick, the message was delivered, and He didn’t come and save Lazarus. When she speaks to Him the next time, she does something I believe is significant. She does something that I didn’t know until about 12 years ago that I could do . . . unload my disappointment and frustration on God.
I don’t know why it seems that some people receive everything from good fortune to miraculous healings, while others receive the opposite. Regardless, John 11:21 grants us permission to speak freely and be honest with God. Not one time does Jesus say, “You don’t talk to me like that! Don’t you know who I am?” There were no stern warnings and Martha wasn’t stoned for blasphemy. She did, however, see probably the greatest miracle that had ever been done until that point in time . . . her brother was brought back to life.
No matter what happens to me, if my faith is in God, all things will ultimately work out for my good (Romans 8:28). It does not mean that I sometimes won’t absolutely hate my present situation. It doesn’t mean that I won’t doubt. Without a doubt, I will go through some things that, in my little blip of an existence, I will not understand. When this happens, the sister of Lazarus has given us permission to speak to God freely. “God, I don’t think you held up your end of the deal!” “God, You weren’t here when I needed you.” At some point, you will understand all that He was doing. Even crazier than that, you will be thankful that He did!
Mary had to wait 4 days for her miracle and endure disappointment that might have even been turning into resentment. Jesus did not cancel His intended miracle because she expressed her frustration to Him. He knew all along exactly what He was going to do.
Maybe I have to wait 4 days. Maybe it is 4 weeks, 4 months, 4 years, or 40 years. Regardless of the wait time, if I love Him, He promises to always be there for me. He promises that all things will work for my good. I simply have to trust that He will make all things right in His time.