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
Some times it takes courage to take things on faith and to believe. We humans like to see results, we like to have proof with our eyes. We want tangible evidence. We want things we can hold and rely upon. Particularly when we have faced great loss, disappointment and isolation we can find it hard to trust anyone and believe that things will get better. When looking up from a dark place it is hard to see positive and to hope again.
Martha's brother has died and word was sent to Jesus who took his sweet time in getting to their home. Martha, the practical, reliable one has been shaken to her core. When she hears that Jesus is finally coming she runs to meet him. Her first words are angry and she chastises her dear friend for not coming sooner. Her grief and her disappointment are palatable. We have all been there. We have cried out to God in anger and grief. Jesus doesn't leave her in her anger and her grief, nor does he chastise her. He hears her ache and has compassion for his friend. She moves from utter despair to solid words of faith and trust through his presence. Martha stands as a model for us all. She knows she can lift her hurt but she is also trusting God with her heart. She knows love so deep that she can show her true self and believe that God will and does transform her sorrow and her pain.
Today we are invited to open our hearts to God. To trust God with the pain and sorrow we have hidden from the world. As we draw ever closer to Holy Week and enter into Christ's passion, we are invited to welcome Jesus into our passion and to lay all our fear and pain upon him. For God's desire is to draw close and to stand with us in our pain, so that we like Martha can say, "I believe!"