The next thing we can learn from this passage is to "ride it out." Know what I mean? Well, let's dive in!
When you read the eleventh chapter of John, you don't wonder about why Jesus stayed where He was two more days, do you? I mean, after our last study you don't, right? But sometimes people do think about that. Maybe people wondered about that as they watched Jesus for those two days. Maybe they wondered if He really cared about Lazarus.
But Jesus didn't stay where He was because of a lack of caring about His friends. He stayed put because He knew that God was in control of the situation. And, He knew that at the right time, the Father would take care of the crisis with Lazarus.
When a crisis invades our lives, do we want to wait it out? Or do we want it to end as soon as possible?
I remember going to a theme park with our kiddos years ago, and standing in line for our turn to ride an especially scary roller coaster. One of those that you look up while you are waiting and ask yourself if you are awake or not. Or if you are crazy or not. Or if you are ready to die or not. (Grin) Have you ever done that? You're standing in a line with metal railings on either side of you, so you can't get away. At least not gracefully.
Every so often, though, in the railing, there will be an opening with a light chain across it, with a easily manipulated latch. Kind of a "chicken exit." If you decide you are not awake, not crazy, or not ready to meet your Maker, you can unlatch the chain and head back to the sidewalk where you can watch the rest of your party convince the world that they are crazy! I have seen people eyeing those chicken exits, and have even seen one or two that took advantage of the opportunity to get out of line.
As Christians, when a crisis comes, we often start looking for those exits. We want to get out of the trial or the crisis as soon as we possibly can -- and with the least amount of pain! We need to turn back to Romans 5, and read . . .
We rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces
perseverance, perseverance character, character hope. And hope does not
disappoint us because God has poured His love into our hearts by the Holy
Spirit whom He has given us.
Sometimes the best way (and sometimes the only way) out of a disaster is to ride it out. Sometimes the only way out of a crisis is perseverance. One day Lazarus was alive. The next day he was not. Then four days later, he was alive again. A lot can happen in a week, no? A lot can happen in three days -- just ask our Jesus.
He knew that God would work, and He also knew (and wanted all of us to know) that God can use disaster for His glory. A few days ago we read an account of a tornado outbreak in Xenia. God was able to do some things through that disaster. Could He have done them in other ways? Of course. But He had a plan, and He carried it out.
He can take a negative and turn it into a positive. He can use crisis in our lives to bring about His glory.
In verses 4 and 40 of our chapter, God did not necessarily cause Lazarus to die. We would say instead that He allowed it to happen -- He used the crisis for His glory, and it changed the lives of Mary and Martha.
OK, how does all of this help us when disaster strikes?
It helps us with the temptation to blame God. Many people get hung up on that, but this study shows us that God doesn't bring disaster into our lives. Disaster may come because of choices we make. It may come because in His wisdom, He allows us to be impacted by a crisis.
But all of this comes down to two things here -- and these are important, so if you haven't really been paying attention up till now, please listen to this:
We need to realize that He loves us and can take our defeats and turn them into His victories. We sometimes just need to ride it out. That's the first one.
Here is the second one: We also should realize that God is able to cure any disease, fix any marriage, mend any heart, forgive any sin.
There is no crisis too big for our God.