Summer Daily Devotional - John 11
Jesus, If You Would Have Been Here
"Jesus, If You Would Have Been Here..."
This statement is said twice in the story, once by Martha (11:21) and once by Mary (11:32) in reference to the death of their brother. Lazarus had fallen sick, and even though Jesus had been informed of his sickness, Jesus did not go until after it was too late.
At least it seemed too late.
All of us have probably said a time or two, if not out loud, most certainly in our hearts...
“Jesus, if only you would have been there…”
“If only you would have prevented this…"
“If only you would have…”
To Martha, it felt as if she had sent an emergency text to Jesus that went unread. Have you ever prayed a prayer that you felt hit the ceiling? That bounced back? That went to voicemail? That’s how Martha felt.
But Jesus waited until after Lazarus had died to come. And get this, He waited…because He loved them (John 11:5-6).
Not because He was busy, not because He didn’t hear them, but because He loved them.
Sometimes it feels like in our deepest hurt, Jesus was late (at best) or absent (at worst). But that's never the case.
Here's a comforting fact: Jesus, knowing what He was going to do, wept with his friends (John 11:35). Before He demonstrated His authority, He demonstrated His empathy, which means He wants you to know He’s with you when you’re waiting. He’s with you when you’re hurting. He’s with you when you’re at your greatest point of pain.
And maybe, God’s perceived absence is the time He wants to build faith in us. Will we trust who He is even when He doesn’t do what we think He should do?
For Martha, it was in the deepest part of her pain that she spoke with faith who she believed Jesus to be… "You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (John 11:27).
Martha spoke faith about the truth of Who Jesus is even though she didn’t know what He was going to do. Faith is displayed when I believe God to be Who He is even when I don’t know the outcome.
Martha confessed faith in Him even in the absence of a miracle she so desperately needed. And here’s the faith she’s declaring in her pain: 'Jesus, even though you didn’t do what I thought you should have done, I believe. Even though I thought you should have been here days earlier, I believe.'
And here’s the declaration Martha teaches us to say over situations that seem hopeless:
Even though I wished things would have gone this way…YOU ARE.
Even though I wished things wouldn’t have gone this way…YOU ARE.
Even though I had hoped you would have…YOU ARE.
Even though this happened…YOU ARE.
Even though he died…YOU ARE.
Even though it seems it’s all over, I believe YOU ARE resurrection and life.
Today, remember that Jesus can resurrect dead things to life. Those things you thought were dead with no hope of resurrection. Jesus says, 'I am resurrection' (John 11:25).
And He says to us, 'What you think is dead, I can bring to life. I resurrect dead things. Dead hearts, dead marriages, dead relationships, dead dreams, dead communities, dead nations.' It’s not just what He does but it’s who He is.
He doesn’t do resurrection, He is resurrection.
God still shows up at the tombs of every Lazarus (his name means, "The one God helps"). So when you are faced with a tomb and dead hopes, will you still believe that He is resurrection and life? Maybe a truth God wants us to learn is to embrace the times of great loss and perceived absence, knowing that our faith will be built up by a greater understanding of His plan and purpose.