Much like Mary and Martha, I wondered where Jesus was. Why didn’t He rescue me and this whole situation right when I wanted Him to? If only He had “come,” I might still be living out my “ministry” calling. Instead, my dreams of ministry felt dead. I wondered if I mattered and if my work mattered.
As we look deeper into the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, there are some key takeaways that I believe we must fully ingest and believe prior to moving forward, embracing who God has called us to be, and being women who lead and make a Kingdom impact:
- Your life has not ended
“This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son.” (John 11:4)
Maybe like me, you have encountered a similar situation where the dreams and hopes you had for your life were turned upside down. Things just didn’t turn out like you thought they would and you have found yourself questioning God and His calling on your life. Much like Mary and Martha who were questioning Jesus and what He was doing, know this: what you have encountered is not fatal. Your life has not ended. Your calling is not dead. Even if you don’t know what your calling is, what you are supposed to do, there is still life in you. God’s not finished with you. Even if you feel like what you do doesn’t matter to anyone, your life has not ended. If you are still breathing, God’s not done with you. Everything that you have been through and encountered, will become an occasion to show God’s glory. Because of what I went through, I’ve had the opportunity to minister to those who have been hurt by the church. I’ve had the opportunity to speak words of encouragement as they work through the hurt and betrayal. God used my experience to ultimately help others and glorify Him. And He wants to do the same with you!
- Jesus is ready to wake you up
“Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. I’m going to wake him up.” (John 11:11)
After everything I had gone through, I felt dead and I desperately needed Jesus to wake me up. After three years of working through my hurt, confusion, and unforgiveness, I was awakened. God began showing me once again who I was and who He created me to be. Today, do you need to be awakened? Is it time to move forward from the obstacles and challenges that have been holding you back for too long?
“You’re about to be given new grounds for believing.” (John 11:15)
This is my favorite verse in this entire passage. Why? Because it reminds me that whatever I’m going through and no matter how hard it might be, God is working in the background, He’s about to give me new grounds for believing. He’s about to do something I would have never imagined. He’s about to grow me in new and bigger ways. And quite honestly, that excites me! Does it excite you too? Do you really believe today that whatever life has thrown at you, God is going to spin it in such a way that all you can do is believe even more?
- Jesus is ready to meet with you
“Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him.” (John 11:20)
I love the visual of this verse. Mary and Martha were distraught. Their brother was dead and Jesus had not come when they asked Him to. And then, all of sudden, Martha heard Jesus was coming and she went out to meet Him.Are you distraught today too? Have you been shattered by a life challenge that quite honestly, took you by surprise? If so, Jesus is ready to meet with you. Don’t hold back. Run to Him and know that He has not forgotten you. His silence doesn’t mean He doesn’t hear you or see you. His timing is always perfect.
- Jesus cares for you
“Jesus wept.” (John 11:35)
When Jesus saw Mary and the Jews that were with her, weeping, He was moved, so much so that He too wept. Jesus cares for you. I truly believe that when we hurt, He hurts. Like any good father, He doesn’t want to see us hurt, but many times, it’s in those hurtful moments that we not only draw closer to Him, but experience Jesus at a whole new level.
- Your story, His glory
“That was a turnaround for many of the Jews who were with Mary. They saw what Jesus did, and believed in him.” (John 11:45) This is what it’s all about. Because of what Mary and Martha went through, others had the opportunity to see what Jesus did and because of that, they put their hope, trust, and belief in Him. And truthfully, this is what it’s all about, making a Kingdom impact.
Did I enjoy what I went through? Not at all. It was hard. But now that I’m on the other side of it, I can see how God used that experience to not only impact my life but impact the lives of others. That experience grew me in multiple ways and taught me to embrace:
-the work God was calling me to
-my God-given identity
-a larger vision
Today, do you find yourself working through hurt, a betrayal? Are you waiting for God to fulfill a hope, a dream in your life? Do you find yourself longing for days that are filled with something that matters, something that makes a difference? If so, know this:
- Even if no one acknowledges you, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
- Even if people criticize you, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
- Even if you’re hurt and confused, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
- Even if your health is declining, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
- Even if your bank account is low, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
- Even if your debt is overwhelming, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
- Even if others turn their back on you, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
- Even if you never get a better paying job, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
- Even if your business flops, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
- Even if your relationship is strained, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
- Even if your addiction is getting harder to overcome, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
We have a choice. We can allow the disappointments of what has or hasn’t happened to consume us to the point of stress, worry and anxiety, or we can ultimately choose to trust God, even when we don’t understand what He is or is not doing.
Jesus didn’t come to make our lives easier or more comfortable. Jesus isn’t in the business of making us an overnight success. He came so that we might have life. A fulfilling life isn’t found when there are no obstacles or challenges. A fulfilling life isn’t found in a better job, more money, more clients, perfect health, or a bigger house. Life is found in Jesus alone. Jesus wants to give us new grounds for believing! He wants to transform us and refine us.
“What I have in God is greater than what I don’t have in life.” ~Max Lucado
Maybe today you feel discouraged. Maybe you feel a little “dead” in life. The dreams, hopes, and prayers that you have held onto, seem so far away. Instead of receiving clear answers, you hear nothing, you see nothing. And if you’re honest with yourself, you’re a bit discouraged. Everything in you just feels dead. Maybe even ordinary. It just feels like it doesn’t matter.
Be encouraged! What you are going through is not fatal; it will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s son. And you my friend are going to be given new grounds for believing. God is still actively working in your life! Now, let’s start embracing who He has created us to be!
Questions for consideration:
- What hopes and dreams have you longed for and prayed for? What has been the result of those prayers?
- Have you ever found yourself questioning whether or not your life matters and whether or not what you do matters? Why or why not? How does it make you feel?
- How do you relate to the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus?
- How is Jesus speaking to you through that story?
- What new grounds for believing is Jesus showing you?