Friday, September 4, 2009

Reaching the Place Where Jesus Is

Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him; but Mary still sat in the house. John 11:20
And when she (Martha) had said this, she went away, and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, "The Teacher is here, and is calling for you." And when she (Mary) heard it, she arose quickly, and was coming to Him. John 11:28-29 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." John 11:31-33

These Scriptures speak deeply to me about suffering and disappointment with God. People will act in unexpected and uncharacteristic ways in crisis. For those of you who know Mary and Martha’s history it may surprise you that it was Martha and not Mary who instinctively and quickly made her way to Jesus. Disappointment or disillusionment in the way Jesus allows things to unfold can shake us to our core. In Matthew 11:2-3 John the Baptist while in prison questioned the validity of the One he had previously boldly proclaimed.

We read that the Jews who were with Mary were comforting her. The word comfort literally means to “relate near.” On some basic level just the presence of people who care about us can provide solace, but eventually they go home and we are alone. We don’t know why Mary didn’t run to meet Jesus we just know she didn’t go until Martha told her that He was calling for. One of the simplest things we can do for someone who is hurting is to remind them that Jesus is waiting for them to come to Him.

When Mary got up her comforters presumed she was going to the tomb to weep because that is a very human response. We visit the grave, we relive the events, we cry, we leave tributes, but I personally have never found consolation in those acts. But I have, with countless others, reached the place where Jesus is. It was there at His feet that Mary released her hurt and disappointment. It was there at His feet she had a deeper revelation of who He was. He took her beyond what she already knew. “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.” She knew Him as healer, but He would take her further and deeper. He is the resurrection and anyone who believes in Jesus shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Jesus shall never die. John 11:25-26 What a revelation, what a promise, and what an amazing Savior.

We all have our own ways of coping and making it through tough times. Where do you go when you are wounded, disappointed, or grieving? Mary went to the place where Jesus was. We need to get there too by faith. Stand on his promise that He is near to the brokenhearted and to those who are crushed in spirit. You are disappointed because you know what He could have done and didn’t. But you don’t know what great thing He can do if you continue to trust Him even when you don't understand. When He doesn’t meet our expectations....He wants to exceed them. He will work it for our good and His glory. He wants to take us deeper still. Get to the place where He is. He is near.
MY PRAYER: Lord, whatever you allow in my life is meant to draw me deeper into my understanding and experience of you. Help me to run to you for the healing and comfort that I need. Only you can bring life in the midst of brokenness hurt and confusion. In Jesus’ name, amen.

MY CONFESSION: You have promised that you are near to the brokenhearted, and that you save those who are crushed in spirit. You are the One who heals the brokenhearted, and binds up our wounds. Psalm 34:18 and Psalm 147:3 You are near and you are at work. I stand on your word!

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