Thursday, January 5, 2012

All in the Timing

Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” John 11:17-27

The other evening when returning from some errands we noticed the sky was beautiful with refracted light as the sun was slowly setting. One of the joys of living where we do is the true beauty of the world that surrounds us, and often we are blessed with magnificent sunsets. I had my camera in the car, so we raced to, aptly named, Sunset Beach, get some photos of the evening sky and sunset. We were racing against a setting sun which is never easy to time. When we got there the sun had not set, but had done her favorite trick, tucking behind a cloud. It was a dense and ominous cloud, but the night was still beautiful despite the incredible wind whipping the waves into a frenzy and freezing everything in sight, including us.

Jesus was late getting to his friends' deathbed and in comforting his friends Martha and Mary in their loss. Martha was disappointed in his bad timing, knowing that Jesus could have made him well if he had not been so tardy. In her grief she let her anger show. And she also declared her faith in Jesus, in a big and bold way despite her disappointment. She confesses her faith more boldly than any of the disciples, although she was obviously racked with pain and loss. We know that a bit later in the story Lazarus is raised from the dead and restored to life. We get to see, in this moment, the real humanity of Martha and Jesus, both torn by loss and Martha still wishing things had gone differently. She was disappointed in God. The gospel today reminds us that when we face disappointment and loss, the story is not truly over. God's timing is not our timing and we are often disappointed that God doesn't deliver on our terms. But God does deliver light and life, to all of us all of the time.

Today, I ask God to help me be grateful for God's timing and that there is always more to the story. May we have faith like Martha, who despite a terrible loss and huge disappointment, she was able to declare her faith in Jesus, trusting him completely despite her own pain and sadness. We will all face some bad bumps in the coming days. May these moments be times when we deepen our faith, deepen our trust and renew our commitment to following God. The story is not over and God is always acting for us all, bringing light, live and new life to our lives.

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