Jesus’ Loving Absence


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 11:5-6)

This is one of those verses in the Bible which make me wonder, “What in the world was Jesus thinking?” He loved Lazarus, Martha and Mary, and because He loved them He stayed where He was for two more days, after hearing that Lazarus was sick, even though doing so would make it more likely that Lazarus would die. That doesn’t make any sense. Jesus withheld His presence and His healing power for two days because He loved these people. How can Jesus’ absence be reconciled with His love?

There is only one answer.

Jesus knew the ending. And He knew that that ending was so good that the most loving thing that He could do for Lazarus, Mary and Martha was to stay where He was for two more days so that these three people that He loved could experience that glorious ending.

A photo by frank mckenna. unsplash.com/photos/EgB1uSU5tRA

Photo by Frank McKenna

And the glory of the ending was not in Lazarus being brought back from the dead. The glorious, loving, joyous event that Jesus, in His great love, wanted Mary, Martha and Lazarus to experience was God being glorified through what Jesus was doing in their lives.

This too seems odd to us. It is not how we are wired. But let us remember that, in everything that we do, something or someone gets glorified. And whatever is being glorified through our lives is what we worship.

So sometimes, even as we trust Him, Jesus withholds His presence and His power because what we view as the worse possible outcome is an opportunity for God to be glorified as Jesus works in our lives. The ending will be so good that the most loving thing that Jesus can do is let us fall into the pit so that we can experience His great and wonderful rescue.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, please help me to always trust in Your love and Your goodness. Amen.

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About James Paulgaard

Living in the in between, becoming, but not quite there yet, old and new mixed together, hanging on with all my might to the One who is holding onto me.
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