Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Smile Behind a Frowning Providence

The Apostle John said: “We have heard. . .looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” (1 John 1:1). 

The Women of the New Testament were included in that statement. 

They saw Jesus face to face.
They had conversations with Him.
They watched Him perform miracles.
They heard His teaching. 

Their stories are included in Scripture, so we can learn more about HIM.

Their lives are a platform – a setting – for the life of Christ to be on display.  

And we study their lives to understand Him better.

One of these ladies loved to learn of Him and from Him.  On one occasion, she sat at His feet and heard His Word, while her sister busily served Him. And the Lord used her example to teach a valuable lesson on priorities -- He desires our listening ear even more than our busy hands.

But the lessons for Mary were not isolated to brief or even extended moments at His feet in their home.

She had to learn about Him in the struggles of life.

While striving to answer the tough questions.
While waiting for His answer, and hearing silence.
While battling, most of all, the tendency to turn from Him, when He seemed to be failing her.

She and her sister had asked Him to heal their brother, whom He loved.
They waited.
Lazarus died.
And they didn’t hear a word from Jesus.

When He did come, Mary was grieving.
Grieving their loss.  Yes.
But grieving even deeper than that.  If He had been there, her brother would not have died.

She had thought she understood the Lord.  Now she realizes she didn’t know Him as well as she thought she did.

But the little she knew of Him was ALL she has to hold on to. 
So, she falls at His feet – her favorite place.

The best place for her to be.

Not knowing what else to do or even what else to say to Him. . . she weeps there.

Jesus had assured Martha in HER grief that He was the “Resurrection and the Life.”
He revealed to her that the unexpected things that weren’t making sense were so His glory would be on display, and they would believe on Him. 

And Martha had found peace in believing who He was.

But Jesus didn’t tell Mary these things.
He didn’t give an explanation for His actions.
 He didn’t even tell her to stop weeping.

Instead, He wept with her. 

"Acquainted with grief” and “touched with the feelings of our infirmities,” He experienced her sorrow along with her.  Trials and tears are “light affliction” in comparison to the “weight of glory.”  But they are not unimportant to Him in the moment we experience them.

So Jesus wept.

Those who saw Him weeping attributed His tears to His love for Lazarus.   
And they were right.

But He had also told Martha and the disciples the purpose for Lazarus’ sickness:
GOD would be glorified.
And THEY would believe on Him.

So He continued to do the unexpected.
Things that didn’t make sense.
Things the unbelieving and rejecting Jews scoffed at.

And He raised their brother from the dead!

His purpose was accomplished:  “Many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him.” (John 11:45)

And so did Mary and Martha.

In all the things that didn’t make sense, He was in control. 
Right on time.
Being glorified.
And teaching His loved ones to trust Him.

“Faith decides that it is all right, and the decisions of faith, eternity will soon confirm.”
– Adoniram Judson