Therefore his sisters sent unto Him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick.
When Jesus heard that, He said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
I wonder how our lives would change if we could only adopt the attitude that everything that happens in our lives is for our good and. His glory! Even the bad, the painful, the devastating things can help us grow, strengthen our faith, improve our testimony before others, and bring glory to God.
To review, the first two verses of this chapter introduced us to Lazarus and his sisters, a family that Jesus loved and with whom He fellowshipped often. You can find that post here https://lindasbiblestudy.wordpress.com/2020/08/07/lazarus-of-bethany/
Lazarus had become ill, apparently so ill that his sisters sent a message to Jesus. You will notice that they did not as Him to come, or to heal. They simply informed Him. I believe they trusted that He would do whatever He knew was best.
His response was simple, really. “This will not end in his death. It is for God’s glory, and that I may be glorified in Him.”
Would you have understood that message to mean that Lazarus would not die? I think I would. But if you go to the explanatory texts, you will see that it is not a promise that Lazarus would not die; instead, it was a promise that the situation would not END in the death of Lazarus.
Our minds are finite, though, and our responses are too often controlled by emotion rather than critical thinking.
So what is critical thinking? Well, it’s not criticism in the sense of faultfinding. It is simply looking at something with logical, Bible-centered eyes and coming, therefore, to logical,Bible-centered conclusions instead of emotion-centered conclusions. Once a Bible-centered conclusion has been reached, that is the time to allow our responses to include emotion. Not for emotion to lead, but to be included in the range of our responses.
An excellent question to ask ourselves, when pondering something we don’t understand or agree with: Does this behavior/situation/possibility compute with what I know to be true about the character of God? Primarily, God is holy. He is without sin. He is pure, unable to sin, while perfectly understanding man’s innate desire to sin. If He is holy and without sin, then He desires no evil to be visited upon us. But He is not required to prevent it, to protect us from the vicissitudes of life on this earth. We, however, are required, as believers, to figure out how such vicissitudes can help us, change us, grow us—and at the same time glorify God.
I have an aching back. I inherited my condition from my mom, and who knows how far back this condition goes in the gene pool! I could complain, cry, seek sympathy from others. It’s tempting, believe me, and sometimes, I have to admit, I do that. But the longer I live with it, the less I say. People ask, which is most kind. I make my replies as positive and brief as possible. I don’t lie and say things are perfect. They’re not. But I try to change the conversation to their own issues, and that works quite well :). I don’t know for sure how this glorifies God, but that’s not my issue to solve. My job is to trust that He knows all about it, and to trust Him through each day.
So. That was quite a rabbit trail, wasn’t it?
Tomorrow, we’ll see what happens next in this very miraculous story.