So weep not for me my friend when my time below does end,
For my life belongs to Him Who will raise the dead again – “All My Tears,” Julie Miller
So. Two letters, such a little word, but where you put it can make a world of difference. In the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, it threatens to break down the logic of the story.
It begins with Lazarus at death’s door. His sisters, Mary and Martha, know the one person who can shut that door. They have seen Jesus’ power, and they send for him. Here the story takes a curious turn. “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he (Lazarus) was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.” (John 11:5-6 NASB)
Jesus loves this family, so He waits for Lazarus to die before He shows up? You can read it that way and be bewildered, but only if you stop reading there.
Mary and Martha don’t know it, but Jesus has something much greater to show them than what they’ve already seen. Though the path to the revelation hurts them beyond measure, he loves them too much to hold back the fullness of His power.
When God takes us through suffering, we may struggle with the knowledge that He could set things right in an instant, but He seems to be doing nothing. We should rejoice, because He is leading us to something greater. And He’s not just waiting on the other side; He is sharing in our sufferings, as Jesus did when he gazed on the mourners around Lazarus’ tomb: “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35).
To witness Jesus’ power over life and death was a privilege reserved for very few people during His time on earth. The good news for everyone who has received redemption through Jesus is this: their turn is coming. The passage of death ends for them just as it did for Lazarus. It’s only the wait that is longer.