Do You Believe?
By Jasmine Waldegrave
Today’s article was originally published on Jasmine’s blog. You can see the original post here. If you’re interested in being featured on CBN READ then drop us a message in the comments here or on Facebook and the team will be in touch!
What to do when things go ‘wrong’
We all have dream plans and hopes. As Christians we believe that God has the best for our lives and he wants us to succeed in life. But how do we navigate this belief if our lives seem to be saying the opposite?
What do we do when what we have dreamed about and fought for seems to have been taken away from us. When we have prayed and contended for breakthrough and Jesus has seemed so far away from our situation. When we feel so very alone in our fight and it’s going from bad to worse. When the 11th hour has long past and all hope is lost. In our loneliness, do we start to ask if God even cared at all about us and our situation?
I believe the Bible can help us learn more about this through the story of Jesus raising Lazarus back to life. It’s easy to look at this story from the end looking back. Mary and Martha, however, had to live it out without the benefit of hindsight.
1. Jesus already knew the outcome
Firstly Jesus knew the outcome of the situation before Mary and Martha had even sent the message to Him asking for help. He knew that there would be a resurrection miracle to come. But he also knew that he wanted to grow faith in Mary and Martha and glorify His Father in heaven through it. He knew that in His silence, the strength of Mary, Martha and Lazarus would be tested but that they would not break.
“Are you willing to push away the stone, risk the smell that may be there, and allow Jesus to speak life into it again?”
2. Jesus can handle our grief and questions
I can only imagine the grief and even anger that Mary and Martha faced. But they both handled it differently.
Martha ran to Jesus when she heard he was on His way. Her belief in his authority and power took her out of the place of loss and grieving and to the source of her hope. Even in the middle of her loss, while everything seemed hopeless and the point of no return had been past, she still had the faith to believe that He could change the situation. But did she really believe the impossible?
Jesus asked her a difficult question. “Do you believe this, Martha?” Does she actually dare to believe in His sovereignty and power? Perhaps her answers to His questions were answers of obligation and saying the “right” thing, more than ones of faith. Could He really raise her dead brother back to life? Could her wildest dreams be fulfilled? Jesus called her to go from a logical faith to an uncivilised, illogical and unconditional faith. A faith of real abandon to earthly common sense. To totally let go of her own agenda and understanding and start to see Jesus for who He really was. Not a just a man of God, but God in man. Immanuel – God WITH us.
Mary’s response to grief and Jesus was very different to Martha’s. She surrounded herself in her grief and held it close to herself. It took Martha to go into the place of grief with Mary to quietly speak to her and call her out to Jesus.
I sometimes wonder if it was out of love and obedience to His call that Mary quickly left the house and went to Him, or whether it was anger that made her go. Her first words to Jesus mirrored her sister’s but came from the place of hopelessness. All was lost and her brother was gone. Was her greeting one of questioning of His love for her and her family. Why had He not come when they called for Him? Where they not good enough friends? Did He really love them?
Jesus does not condemn Mary for her grief, anger and questions. He weeps with her, is willing to feel her pain with her and then asks her to take him to the place of deepest brokenness.
3. Jesus takes us from questions to faith in action.
Mary’s step of growing her faith was to allow Jesus into her grief. To allow him to see the darkest, most broken and hurt parts of herself, and to believe that, despite what she could see and understand, He still loved her. She had to allow Him to resurrect her lost faith in Him.
Martha’s step of faith was different. She already trusted that He loved her and her family. Her step to growing her faith involved believing that she could take Jesus at his word that He would restore her family. Jesus had challenged her to believe for the impossible, that her dear Lazarus would rise to life again.
Standing in front of the 4 day old closed grave in a hot desert summer, Jesus challenged Martha to allow the grave to be opened. This was crunch point. Would she actually action what He had challenged her to believe for? This was a bold and open decision. She was surrounded by many mourners. They would have thought none the worst of her if she had said no to this request. Jesus wanted to perform the resurrection miracle, but she had to allow them to open the grave.
Jesus wants to grow and strengthen our faith. In His love for us He will push us from the place of questioning His love, power and authority, to actively engaging our faith and believing wholeheartedly that He will do what He has promised.
4. Jesus resurrection power is able to change a surrendered situation.
How do we action this in our own lives? I believe for some readers of this God may be asking you to just have the faith to believe again. To let Jesus into your brokenness and hurt and allow Him to comfort and restore you. That small step of faith could seem like a Grand Canyon leap to you. Jesus has put people into your life to take that leap with you. To show you the way to believe again. He is right there beside you waiting for you to let Him back into your life and restore your hope again. Perhaps you are a Martha yourself. Who is God calling you walk along side and call out to a faith resurrection? You don’t have to be all together to do this. Martha did it despite her deepest hurt.
For others I believe this word is for you because there are lost hopes, dreams and promises in you that have died and been buried. I believe God is challenging you to open that grave. You don’t do the resurrecting, that’s His job, but you do have a part to play in it. Are you willing to push away the stone, risk the smell that may be there, and allow Jesus to speak life into it again? He is standing at the entrance to your lost dreams and waiting for you to take the first step so He can do His work.
Do you believe this?