So often in our lives, we go through pain and hurt, but instead of dealing with it, we bury it. We try to ignore the pain. Or we cover it over with other things, busyness, food, pleasure, or whatever else we can find. But the pain becomes like a rot in our souls, eating away at us from the inside out.
What can we do?
Mary and Martha had to go through that. Their brother had died. Worse, they knew that if Jesus had only come sooner, Lazarus wouldn’t have died. But for reasons they couldn’t understand, Jesus delayed his coming. And so they went through feelings of pain at the loss of their brother, and perhaps feelings of betrayal by Jesus.
And both said the same thing when they finally came face to face with him. “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, it is possible that when Martha said this, she meant it not in an accusing manner, but as a way of saying, “I still believe in you. I’m not turning my back on you.”
With Mary, however, I don’t think there can be any doubt that she said it with lots of pain and hurt in her voice. And when Jesus saw this, John tells us,
He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. (33)
Why? Part of it may have been the empathy he felt for Mary. But another part of him may have also been hurt by her lack of faith in him. We see the same response in verse 38 when other people started to question his failure to come in time to help Lazarus.
So he went to the place where Lazarus was buried, and he told Martha,
Take away the stone (39a)
Martha’s response was very understandable.
But, Lord…by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days. (39)
But Jesus replied,
Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God? (40)
Martha was reluctant. There seemed no point in rolling away the stone. Lazarus was dead and gone. But she obeyed, and Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
What can we learn from this?
What hurts or pains have you buried in your heart? What bitterness do you hold to in your heart because of it? Bitterness toward others? Bitterness even toward God?
Jesus says, remove the stone. Uncover the pain and bitterness in your heart. It’s rotting there. So uncover it. And if you will just believe in Jesus, you will see the glory of God in your life.
The question is: “Will you?”