Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Present in our Pain He Planned for our Best and His Glory (John 11.1-46ish)

A devotional thought: Jesus often has a bigger purpose that we understand when He brings about utterly painful hardships in our lives, but that does not mean He does not love us, nor does it mean that He does not care or feel our pain right along with us, just ask John when he recalls what Jesus did and said when Lazarus got sick and died. He says that Jesus new what was going to happen and refused to heal Lazarus because it was ultimately for God's glory and for His disciples faith (John 11.4, 14-15). But He did love Mary and Martha even though He planned for them to experience some intense pain, and even Lazarus who would die (verse 5). It is easy for us to be like Mary and Martha when we go through some intense hardship. They knew Jesus could have solved the problem, but they also knew that He did not. They seemed to think that Jesus didn't care and blamed Him for their brothers death. You can still hear their confused sobs bleed through the pages of John 11, "Lord, if you would have been here my brother wouldn't be DEAD! (v.21 and v.32)" in other words, "You could have stopped this!!!" There words hide the same question our words do; "How could You do this? Why would You want this? Don't You care about me, about us?" He also see them crying, just as He sees us in our troubled tears and pain-filled hearts. But Jesus' response is what shocks us, because this is the same Guy who planned this whole situation--what does He do? He cares. He cares hardcore. "He became deeply moved and He felt His emotions swirl inside Himself" (v.33). Then as He sees all their tears, "Jesus burst into tears" (v.34-35). He cries, and He cries hardcore. He will then go and raise Larazus from the dead, ultimately bring to pass His perfect plan from the beginning, which was that the sickness would not result in death but be for God's glory, so that the Son of God would be glorified through it" (v.4). But not before we suffer and He suffers with us. Our suffering and His suffering with us confirms that He does love us! For indeed how much He must love us if He who planned all the bad stuff to happen also cares about how we experience it, so the point that He Himself shares in our pain and feels all the churning emotions that we feel. Jesus is with us in our pain and He is using that pain not just to bolster our faith but also to bring the Glory to Whom it belongs. Therefore, we should be encouraged that no matter how much pain Jesus Christ plans to come our way, it is for His purposes and He will not leave us in the mess alone, without sympathy. He Himself will feel what we feel. This is still true. Jesus gets what we are going through and cares deeply for us, no matter what happens. But He cares too much about us to leave our faith where it was at and He care too much about His Father's glory and even His own glory to not send our way what much be for His Glory and our best. Take courage, youth group, we suffer, but we don't suffer alone and we don't suffer without purpose. We are part of a plan that brings God the glory and us deeper and better faith! I love you all very much.

Grace and Peace and Comfort be yours in Jesus Christ
Pastor Anthony

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