Martha said to Jesus, “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” – John 11: 21-22

Being familiar with someone is a wonderful thing, you get to see behind the curtain of a person. You get to know their strengths and weaknesses and all the knowable reasons they do things. It takes time and attention to get to know someone enough to have confidence in who they are and what they will do. Disappointment comes when your priorities differ, although your confidence in the person tells you they will act according to familiar comfortable patterns.

Martha’s disappointment and her confidence were both on display, real and raw. On one hand, her grief was palpable as she expressed scathing disappointment, placing the blame for Lazarus’s death squarely on Jesus. And then in almost the same breath, she expresses her confidence in Jesus’s character and his power. She was remarkably familiar with Jesus’s compassion for people because she had seen it repeatedly. And now that Jesus had arrived, things would somehow change for the better.

I wonder, how much confidence do we have in Jesus? Jesus is now continually with us through the Holy Spirit, so we’ll never have to say, “If only you were here”. He is also no less compassionate and no less powerful. Every power is subject to him as he sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven, and he proved his eminent compassion on the cross. I’d therefore suggest we should have enough confidence in Jesus to last a lifetime.

Disappointment can come when our expectations diverge from the Lord’s plans. Unfortunately, we don’t know God’s plans most of the time. Martha didn’t know Jesus was going to use the death of Lazarus to accomplish one of the most astounding miraculous feats in scripture. God doesn’t owe us an inside track to what he’s up to. He wants us to simply trust and obey.

Martha was about to witness something spectacular! I wonder, are we expecting to witness God’s power at the end of our frustrations as well? We have to trust that God is at work for our good and his own excellent purposes. Think about all the things he’s done to make it easy to trust him. We have a gorgeous latticework of promises; we have been given the victorious ending of creation’s story; we have the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us, and the supernatural living Word that declares God’s heart for us throughout the ages. Not to mention everlasting life in complete perfection. I think we can trust him, how about you?

Jonathan Duncan

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