What is in your life right now that you’ve been asking God to fix or transform or remove? Maybe you’ve been praying for months or years about something, and it’s like He doesn’t hear.
Is He really there? Does He really love us?
Jesus’s friends, Martha and Mary, may have felt like that when Jesus refused to heal their dying brother. In the 11th chapter of John’s Gospel, we read that the sisters sent a passionate plea to Jesus and He declined. That doesn’t sound loving, does it? With one word He could have saved him.
Four days after Lazarus was buried, Jesus finally visited Martha and Mary. The two women boldly share their terrible disappointment with Him. “Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died'” (John 11:21).
But in this passage we see that Jesus’s purposes are bigger than the issues we can see with our limited understanding. He reminds Martha of who He is.
“‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die'” (John 11:25-26).
If Jesus just gave us what we asked, we would never understand who He really is, and how much He loves us. He wants to do things that are beyond what we can imagine! Here’s how He put it to His disciples after He explains Lazarus has died. “For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe” (John 11:14).
Believe what? He wants to teach us about His nature, His power, and His love. He wants us to learn something crucial:
Love trusts God’s timing, even when it doesn’t make sense.
How we respond to adversity and what we do with the pain in our lives reveals a lot about who we really love, and who we really trust.
But even if we trust God’s timing and purposes in difficult times, they’re still difficult times! The confusion and disappointment and pain are real, aren’t they?
When Mary cried at Jesus’s feet, He knew the amazing miracle He was about to perform. He knew Lazarus would come back to life. But He felt Mary’s broken heart. And it broke His heart too.
“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled… [He] wept” (John 11:3, 35).
Then He took action. Jesus spoke a few words, and Lazarus was resurrected.
Love trusts God’s Word. We have His Word, the Bible. Through it we can learn more of who He is and who we are in Christ, and what He wants to do through us.
Loving is trusting, especially when you don’t understand and when it doesn’t make sense and when it’s scary and when it’s dangerous and when it costs a lot.
That’s what it looks like to love God.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip