Pain and Joy

Now a man named Lazarus was sick….When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.
John 11:1a, 4-6 NIV*

Jesus didn’t even have to go see Lazarus to heal him, he could have just said the word. Instead He waited until Lazarus was dead before starting out.

He loved this family. Their home seems to be one of the few genuinely safe places where He could visit without loaded questions and malice.

Loving them, knowing their faith and character and that they could pass this test, He let Lazarus the provider die.

Because there was something bigger at stake.

This was “for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” (v. 4)

And as much as this was clearly about God, it wasn’t for God’s benefit. He wasn’t on an ego trip.

It was for the people, the believers. Jesus told His disciples in verse 15, “…for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.

Not for God’s sake that they could believe, but for theirs. God already knew who He is.

Jesus wept and was deeply moved by the sisters’ grief. Probably more so because He knew He could have prevented it. Given that He’d already been speaking about laying down His own life, it wasn’t a case of letting someone else pay a price He wasn’t prepared to double.

The people needed to know Him better, and joy was on its way. But that didn’t negate the pain.

Sustaining and compassionate God, help us remember in our tears that You feel our pain. Help us rely on You in faith, trusting although we don’t understand. Reveal Yourself to us, not for Your benefit but for ours, so that we can trust You more.

There are plenty of good songs about trusting God in the pain. Today I chose David Crowder*Band’s “Shadows”.

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

4 thoughts on “Pain and Joy

  1. Susan Stewart

    “The people needed to know Him better, and joy was on its way. But that didn’t negate the pain.”

    Dear Janet, I am heaving a great sigh as I write this… the kind of sigh that emanates from deep within someone who has just been greatly comforted and encouraged on the way… Thank you for posting this message on this day. I am leaving the house this morning choosing to remember that “joy is on the way” believing that it WILL crowd out the nagging doubts that “this is the end of the story”… At the same time you have reminded me to allow myself to feel the pain of these circumstances in the here and now…

    1. janetsketchley

      Oh, those doubts about this being the way it’ll end up…. For the joy set before Him, Jesus overcame the cross. Praying, Susan! That you’ll know Him with you now and that the joy will come soon. Hugs!


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