“Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” – John 20:29

Do you ever wonder why God sometimes lets a bad situation not only get worse, but get impossible? It would be better just to resolve the problem, wouldn’t it? Allowing the problem to get worse doesn’t make sense. It makes us wonder, “God, what are You doing? Where are You?”

On a truly organic level you have to wonder why is it there are times when there are difficulties in your life, there’s pain in your life, there’s a relationship that’s shredded, there’s something wrong with your body, you need some money, you need a job, you got a kid who is always in trouble. You look heavenly and say, “God, I need help.” But instead of a solution it gets worse, leaving you to wonder if Jesus really cares. 

I would like to remind you of the story in John chapter 11. Lazarus was sick and that was brought to the attention of Jesus. The Bible says that Jesus loved Lazarus. Sisters Mary and Martha have seen Jesus do miraculous works, and now they need some help with a problem. So naturally they bring the problem to Jesus. These people are not just followers or needy people. These are people that have demonstrated that Jesus is enough for them. He is their all in all. They are believers. They care. And they know He cares for them.

So they take their problem to Jesus. And what’s Jesus’ response? How does Jesus respond to His most devoted followers and good friends? Well, we’ll find out in verses 4 to 6. “But when Jesus heard it he said, This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”’ Then notice this little commentary: ”Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.”

This is a God-ordained, God-timed, God-orchestrated sickness. It will not end in death. In fact, it has a very specific purpose so that the Son may be glorified. The purpose is that people will see and know Jesus for who He is like never before.

How would we react? What if you called 911 and was told, “I’ll be there in a couple days.” We would not be happy to be sure. We respond the same way with God if we needed money. Or a job. Or help with an addiction or a relationship. That’s because we expect to God to do our bidding as justification for our faith. Or we look to a mentor or relative or someone else as a symbol of our faith or we are willing to trust God if He does things our way. This is not faith. This is focusing on what God does rather than who He is. 

In verse 7 to 16 and Jesus announces His plan to solve the problem. He didn’t do it in their time, He didn’t say, “Oh, I’ll be right there, Mary,” The issue is not His power. And the text is telling us the issue is not whether He loves or not. But something is going on here. He has a plan and if we don’t have faith in who He is, we may miss what He is doing in our life.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is the difference between real and weak faith?
  2. Read John 11:1-44: Many people ask, “Where is God” when they are undergoing times of intense trial and difficulty. What does this section say about who and where He is?
  3. What application can we take from John’s statement in verse 5, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus”? Especially as in regards to our own circumstances?
  4. Everything Jesus has said about Himself is true and it is demonstrated yet again by Lazarus’ resurrection. How does that apply to our lives today?
  5. What can we do this week to remember who God is, rather than what He does?