A Glimpse of the Heart of God
I have a little story I want to share with you.
Two of my children have been diagnosed with server hearing-loss and now wear hearing aids in both ears. The first time they wore them to school Jonathan begged me not to have to wear them. This broke my heart, I hugged him and told him it would be okay and that he had to wear them, that it would be for his good.
As I was driving home from dropping them off at school I thought about this. I thought of the many times I have begged God asking not to have to go through something. I wondered if I didn’t catch a glimpse of what He can see in my life and how His heart must feel for us, His children when we go through something hard. Even though I know these hearing aids will be good for Jonathan it was hard to send him when he was begging me not to. It is for his good and maybe even to help another one day but all for the glory of God.
Another Look at a Sunday School Story
Just a few days later I was sharing this with a friend and we ended up talking about the story of Lazarus. But, our conversation didn’t focus on the raising of Lazarus (as many stories do) instead we focused on where “Jesus wept”.
This familiar Sunday school story is found in John 11. This story starts with Mary and Martha sending word to Jesus that “the one you love is sick”1. John even notes that “Jesus loved Martha and her sister [Mary] and Lazarus”2.
After intentionally waiting a few more days Jesus comes. Martha comes to greet him and says “Lord, …if you would have been here, my bother would not have died”3. Later Mary says the same thing 4. They had sent word, they had asked, begged, for Jesus to come so that Lazarus wouldn’t have to die but Jesus allowed him to die.
Jesus tells us this is “for the glory of God”5 and even tells his disciples “I am glad for your sakes that I am not there, that you may believe”6.
Grief and pain can drive us to the feet of Jesus or it can drive us away from Him, the choice is ours.
When Mary is told that Jesus is there she gets up and goes to Him quickly and falls at His feet. When those that were with her in the house see how she quickly got up they followed her.
When we are hurting the last thing we want to be is an example. Maybe that is just me. But let me point this out. The death and the mourning of Lazarus are why there are people gathered with Mary this is why they were watching her. Her response in this mourning is to quickly come to Jesus and fall at his feet. These people followed her and were watching. Grief and pain can drive us to the feet of Jesus or it can drive us away from Him, the choice is ours. We need to choose wisely for ourselves but also because others are watching.
When Jesus saw her weeping there at His feet “he was deeply moved”, another version uses the word “groaned” in his spirit 7. While Jesus knew that He was about to raise Lazarus and that all this was to bring glory to the Father He was not removed from the pain the Mary and Martha were feeling at this time, He was moved by it.
It is here that we read “Jesus wept”8.
He was not removed from the pain, He was moved by it.
In our world, we might picture a tear or two running down Jesus’ face. But in ancient culture (like the time Jesus walked this earth) weeping was often more than just a few tears it meant crying loudly or an outward expression of grief that was often shaped by the culture around them 9. How Jesus wept with Mary and Martha we don’t know exactly but we know this He met them right where they were in their grief.
Let’s sit on this thought for a while.
All For His Glory
Sometimes we beg God not to have to walk a path that we can see leads to a hard time and pain. We should ask, He able to do anything. But, remember that He has a point of view we do not. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts 10. Just as I know that the hearing aids are a good thing for my son, God knows what is good for us in the end and how it will shape us. And just like it wasn’t easy to send my son to school with the hearing aids when he didn’t want to. I don’t think it is easy for the Father to send us through a time that will be hard. He is not removed from our heartache, as we see here in the death is Lazarus He is moved deeply and He meets us here.
In verse 40 Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God”. He then prays a prayer for all to hear;
“Father, thank you that you have heard me. I know that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people here, that they may believe that you have sent me” 11.
This is also for our benefit today as we read this in Scripture. We are told many times in scripture that God’s hears our prayers.
Jesus then called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” and the dead man came out.
All this was done, the death of Lazarus allowed, for the glory of God. Jesus’ power as God was put on display. He had the power over death!
God is able to do anything, everything is under his command. But sometimes He allows us to walk that hard path for our own benefit, for the benefit of those watching us and for those who we will share this testimony with. He allows all this for His glory. “If you believe you will see the glory of God” 12. We have to be looking for it through. When I am in the middle of a hard time it can be hard to see.
Have Eyes to See
I’ve learned to ask God to give me eyes to see how He this might use this time and I go to wise friends and I let her tell me how she can see God working. These are women who have walked before me and have seen God work many times before, they can see it better then I can. They don’t fix everything, they remind me of who our God is and that He is right here with me. They pray for me and with me.
On the hard days remember our good Father will meet you right where you are. He is not removed from your heartache, He is moved by it. Let the hard times drive you to His feet and not away from Him.
Father, thank you that you hear me when I call out to you. Thank you that you are not removed from my heartache in this life but when I fall at your feet you are moved by it. You meet me where I am. You are my comforter and strength. Give me eyes to see how you use everything, even the hard days, for your glory. May I be faithful to share how you work in my life so that others can see the work of your hand all to bring you glory.
In Jesus name, I pray, Amen