Tag Archives: Healing

If You Had Been Here


I just read the account of Lazarus’s resurrection in John 11. There are two verses in the passage that I could chew on for a lifetime and never really fully grasp. This is a lesson that will challenge me until I go Home.

Here we have the story of three of Jesus’ friends who desperately need His help.

John 11:3 tells us that the message the sisters sent to Jesus was, “he whom You love is sick.” Though Jesus shows no partiality, clearly these are people who are precious to Him.

I’m sure that sending for Jesus was the first order of business. They had a deep, personal relationship with Jesus and every reason to expect Him to rush to their aid. I doubt if they were even that concerned in the beginning.

“Not to worry,” they must have said. “Jesus will be here any moment.”

But time dragged by and He didn’t show. They waited, anxiety intensifying along with their brother’s illness. I can picture them taking turns watching over their brother and watching for the Lord. Much like Elijah’s servant in 1 Kings 18:43.

I can just see Mary coming back to Lazarus’s bedside to tell Martha that Jesus still isn’t there. “Go back, look again.”

They reach the eleventh hour and still no sign of their beloved Jesus. Then, the unthinkable: they lose Lazarus.

After he’s dead and gone four days, after he’s already in the ground, that’s when Jesus comes. I don’t think either of the sisters were happy with Him. Mary didn’t even go see Him (John 11:20). This is the Mary who’d chosen the ‘one thing,’ but she’s too heartsick to sit at Jesus’ feet in that moment.

When she does go to Jesus, she echoes her sister’s sentiment; “If You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Can you hear the accusation? The confusion and pain?

They’re crying out to Jesus, saying, “Lord, you let me down.”

How many times do our own hearts entertain this thought?

Perhaps the unthinkable has happened to you too and you’ve lost a loved one. Or maybe you’ve felt the sting of an unanswered prayer in a different area of your life.

“Lord, if You had been here, the money wouldn’t have run out.”

“Lord, if You had been here, it would be my wedding day instead.”

“Lord, if You had been here, we would have a child by now.”

But look at the very beginning of John 11:

‘Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.’

John 11: 5-6

That doesn’t sound right. If He loved them, shouldn’t He have rushed to their side immediately? In fact, He didn’t even have to move. He could have healed Lazarus from where He was. He’d done it before.

So why, if He loved them, wouldn’t He help them? This doesn’t reconcile with our definition of love.

But we have to remember: God is the Author, the Creator of Love. And He had a plan to love them so much better than they could even imagine.

You can see from what Mary and Martha say to Jesus that they’re faith only reaches a certain point. They are set on the idea that the only deliverance in this situation was through healing Lazarus while he was still alive. Resurrection is not an option they take seriously.

They had God in a box.

“You weren’t here, You’ve come too late. You can’t fix this now.”

I know I’ve been guilty of saying this to God before.

God can fix anything. No situation is outside of His control. There are no lost causes where God is concerned.

His plan in Mary and Martha’s situation was that they would get to witness the glory of God.

Imagine what must have gone through their heads when they saw their brother walk out of that tomb. Imagine how loved they must have felt.

God has a resurrection planned for your situation. It might not look the way you expect. Maybe you won’t get that higher paying job, maybe your true love will marry someone else, maybe your family member won’t beat cancer… That does not mean that Jesus didn’t come.

He is right there with you through every circumstance and He has the outcome planned for your good. He has better plans for you than you have for yourself. Plans for a future and a hope. He knows your needs even before you ask for them. You can rest assured that He wants to give you the same blessing He gave to Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.

No matter what your situation is, His plan for you is Life and Resurrection. His plan is that you may witness His glory and feel His love.

Don’t tell Jesus that He’s arrived too late.


Having it Both Ways


Last time, I wrote about how we as Christians, instead of being hypocritical, should try to imagine what it’s like for those who don’t know God. We should love on people.

But society would have us head from one extreme to the other and tell people there is nothing wrong with sin.

Today, many people are preaching acceptance and tolerance. The popular conclusion is that either you love everything about someone, or you hate/fear everything about someone. For many, it’s either tolerance or persecution.

In fact, a popular consensus is that Jesus’ main message was peace and tolerance. People who say that obviously haven’t read the Gospels.

Everywhere Jesus went, He healed the sick, cast out demons, and forgave sins. He never once told someone they were just fine the way they were.

When He encountered sick people, He healed them. After He forgave sins, He told those people to “go and sin no more”. He told those who wanted to follow Him that they would have to deny themselves and take up their cross in order to do so.

Wouldn’t it be ridiculous if a doctor said to his severely ill patient, “Oh no, you’re fine just the way you are. We’re not going to change you at all.”? That person would die without the necessary treatments and that doctor would be responsible.

So how can we think that a Righteous and Holy God, who cannot tolerate sin to the degree that He sent His Son to die as an atoning sacrifice, would then teach people that sin is acceptable?

Imagine giving your life in exchange for a cure for someone else’s disease and then telling them they are just fine and don’t need to take it. That’s ludicrous. And that is not Jesus’ message.

“Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.”

Luke 12:51

People do not like to hear that they are doing something wrong. But if we love them, and have compassion on them, we have to tell them. Even if that causes division. Even if it gets us labeled as judgmental hypocrites.

Let people call you that if they want. Just make sure it isn’t true.

As I said last time, make sure you’re preaching God’s Word and not your own set of rules.

You can show someone compassion without tolerating a sinful lifestyle that’s drawing them away from God.

You can give someone grace and tell them to repent before it’s too late.

You can give people selfless, patient love while still hating the sin that’s separating them from God.

satan wants you to believe that it’s either one way or the other. Please don’t believe him. Instead, ask God to work in your heart and love others through you.

Ask Him to fill you so full of His perfect love that it spills over onto everyone you meet, whether they like it or not.

What do you think? Can you love someone without accepting their lifestyle? Or am I way off here? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Hypocrisy: It’s Only Cool if I do It


I’ve been reading and thinking a lot lately about the hypocrisy in the church and judgment vs. tolerance. I came across this passage in Luke that I think makes some interesting points:

‘But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath: and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath.” The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom satan has bound – think of it – for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”’

Luke 12:14-16

The callousness of the synagogue ruler astounds me. Can you imagine the uproar if hospitals were closed one day of the week? Picture being sick for eighteen years and suddenly you have access to the miracle cure. Would you want to wait even one more minute?

The Pharisees took the Lord’s commandment and warped it to fit their own end. They changed the rules, manipulating the Law of God and then imposed their own ideals on the people.

Don’t we as Christians do that sometimes? Sometimes we make up the rules and when someone breaks one of those rules, it’s like God no longer has our permission to work in their lives.

Jesus came to heal the sick, but we get irked when He doesn’t follow our guidelines.

“No Lord, don’t bless her with a Godly boyfriend. I know what she did with her last one and if she were truly repentant, she would never date again and only focus on You.”

“God, why did you give him the job at the church instead of me? He goes out for drinks with his friends once a week and I haven’t touched alcohol in years.”

We Christians labor under the delusion that people have to attain a certain level of holiness before they are worthy of God’s healing power in their lives. We weigh others in our own scales and find them wanting, then we get indignant when God begins transforming them. Or sometimes, we just choose to reject their confession of faith and refuse to love and accept them as a brother or sister in Christ.

Like the Synagogue ruler, we tell them they can only be healed if they are seeking God the way we believe they should.

I love when Jesus says “think of it.”

We should never allow our religious regulations to crowd out compassion. It doesn’t matter if someone is committing the most offensive, heinous sin in the world. That only means they are all the more ill, all the more in need of God.

Think of it.

Think of being so lost you don’t even know you’re lost; so trapped in sin that you’ve fooled yourself into thinking you’re ok and don’t need to change. Think of living a life apart from God.

Do we really want to stand in the way of Jesus’ healing work in someone’s life just because He isn’t going about it the way we think He should? Are we that conceited? That uncompassionate?

Have you ever told someone to come back when it’s no longer ‘the Sabbath’? You know, after they’ve cleaned themselves up a bit? Or are you letting love and compassion govern your actions and bringing people to Jesus to be healed?

I know I’ve been guilty of holding people to my standards instead of God’s. Well, no more. I’m throwing out my scale, because it’s God’s opinion that matters, not mine. 

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