I re-read the story of Lazarus this week and I can’t get this thought out of my head:
How much impossible do we miss, waiting for what's possible?
If you aren’t familiar with the story, Jesus was doing ministry in another town when he received word from Mary and Martha, Lazarus’s sisters, that he was ill. Jesus said to them, "This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4)
So the sisters went back home and instead of going with them, Jesus continued to do ministry where he was… for two more days.
I’m paraphrasing here, but basically, when Jesus finally arrived at Mary, Martha, and Lazarus’s house, Lazarus had been dead for four days (v.39). Of course, the sisters were grieved, and I imagine a bit angry with Jesus too. Mary said to him, ‘Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” Martha later making a nearly identical statement.
They believed that Jesus could have healed their brother. They had believed it so much, in fact, that they traveled across however many towns to find him begging him to do so.
But Jesus had not come, and it seemed to them and everyone else at the time, that he did not do what he said he would. When Jesus reminded the sisters of his promise that this illness would not lead to death, Martha said he must have been referring to eternal life. This was the only possible scenario because, of course, Lazarus was already dead.
I've been thinking about the grief they must have been feeling for a few days now. The loss was unimaginable, just like the loss so many of us have experienced in our own lives. A person they deeply loved was no longer with them.
Not only that, but I imagine they felt let down by Jesus too.
No matter how you look at it, there are many levels of grief and loss we experience throughout our life. Death of dreams, careers, and goals. Death of what we thought our life should be or even would be “by now”. Death of beautiful people and places and things. And often we get stuck waiting for God to heal what was instead of asking for what could be, mostly because we have no actual idea of what's possible with God.
Jesus came to Lazarus and the people mourning after he died. Four days after. He went to the tomb, as people often did, to grieve then asked Mary and Martha to roll the stone away. Jesus prayed, thanked God for hearing his prayers, and then did the unthinkable. The unimaginable. The impossible.
Jesus shouted to Lazarus to come out.
This is a super hard pill to swallow but it was because of their grief that Mary and Martha saw the impossible that day.
It was because they experienced a loss that they experienced Jesus at his best.
It was because they experienced disappointment and unanswered prayers that they saw something brand spanking new that would be told forever and ever.
What loss are you mourning in your life today? Is it a home, an idea, a dream? Perhaps it’s a person - whether it is a death or a severed relationship. Maybe you’re grieving your sense of normal or what used to be.
Whatever you’re grieving today, could it be that God is waiting to do something impossible in your life… right smack in the middle of your loss? Could it be that the Lord is working something new that would not be able to happen without first experiencing some disappointment?
Our minds are so small in comparison to the possibilities with God. What if God isn't giving us the possible because He is waiting to do the impossible? We have no idea what’s on the other side of our prayers with him. Trust Him fully and let Him do what He will. For better, or for what feels like worse, we can know that His plans for us are good. And with Him, all things are possible.