By Andrea Lennon
Have you ever looked at your life and asked the question, "Why?" Why all the heartaches, trials, pains, challenges, losses, disappointments, mistakes, and missed opportunities? Have you ever thought, "Life should be easier than this?" Can I be the first to admit, I have!
One "why" that I often battle involves the question, "Why did the journey to this place in my walk with the Lord have to be so long, and at times, so hard?" God often answers this "why" with a simple statement: "We would not be here, if we had not been there." This answer reminds me that in God's economy, my comfort is not always at the top of His agenda.
I imagine two sisters, found in the pages of God's Holy Word, would agree with my above statement. Their names were Martha and Mary. Martha was the take-charge sister who knew how to make things happen. Mary was much more laidback and often found her place at Jesus' feet. Both Martha and Mary were involved in Jesus' earthly ministry. Yet, Martha and Mary experienced times of discomfort that led them to ask the "why" question.
John 11:1-44 records an event from the life of Martha and Mary. This event related that Lazarus, Martha and Mary's brother, was ill. Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus and waited for His arrival. Time passed and Jesus never came. Finally, Lazarus died. Jesus, aware of everything that took place, told His disciples that the time had come to travel to Bethany.
Jesus and His disciples set out on foot for the hometown of His friends. While Jesus was on His way, Martha heard that He was coming. Without a second thought, Martha raced to meet Jesus. When Martha met Jesus she said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." (John 11:21) Jesus talked to Martha and then asked to see Mary. Mary ran to meet Jesus as well, and fell at His feet. The words Mary said to Jesus had a familiar ring, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." (John 11:32)
Can you hear the intensity and anguish in the sisters voices? I can. I can also hear a few "whys" tucked away in both statements. It's like Martha and Mary were saying, "Lord why did you not come earlier? Why did my brother have to die? Why did his life have to end up like this?"
Scripture states that Jesus was moved by the sisters' grief. John 11:35 relates that Jesus cried with His friends. I find this interesting given the fact that Jesus knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead. To me, this is a beautiful picture of the humanity of our Savior. Jesus was touched by the "whys" in Martha and Mary's lives. The "whys" mattered to His heart.
Not only was Jesus touched by the "whys" in His followers lives, He was moved to action. We see this in Jesus' request to be taken to the tomb of Lazarus. At the tomb, Jesus gave a clear instruction to remove the stone. Once the stone was removed, Jesus called Lazarus to come forth from the grave. On that day, that is exactly what happened. Lazarus, once dead, came back to life.
For many who study this incredible account, the story concludes when Jesus instructed the bystanders to remove the grave clothes. However, for our friends Martha and Mary, this event must have been the beginning of viewing life from a fresh new perspective.
Without a doubt, Martha and Mary had to know that they were not always going to understand how and why things would take place. They, too, must have realized that following Jesus was not always going to be easy or predictable. However, on the top of their list, I wonder if Martha and Mary knew that the "whys" in their lives meant something to Jesus. If so, this truth had to bring them to a place of loving and serving Jesus even more.
Today, for you and me, the "whys" in our lives have the same potential. "Whys" do not have to be a burden, but, rather, they have the opportunity to be a blessing. This blessing is to know that if we go to Jesus with our "whys" and lay them at His feet, we too can experience a deeper more meaningful love relationship with Him.
Right now, I want to encourage you to thank Jesus for the "whys" in your life. Ask Jesus to help you remember that He really cares about you and your "whys." This week, when things seem to be falling apart, follow the example set forth in scripture--- run to the Lord and lay the "whys" at His feet. Then watch Jesus work and move in your life.