So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there …
To read today’s portion of scripture, you can purchase The One Year Bible or find the following in your Bible:
1 Samuel 26:1-28:25
There’s only one way Jesus could be glad upon hearing that Lazarus was already dead: He knew the outcome, and knew it would bring God glory.
I’ve often thought about all the events in my life that looked like tragedies at the time, but which ended up being blessings. The one that matters most is my infertility. I grieved the ten children I had always thought I’d have, but then God’s plan unfolded. I am the mother of two adopted children, and I couldn’t be happier about that. In fact, when I think about how they would not be in my life had things turned out differently, it makes me shudder. God’s ways are always better than what we could plan for ourselves.
Belonging to God doesn’t mean we won’t have losses and grief and pain. But it does mean that all our sorrows — in the hand of our Creator — will be fashioned into something beautiful, if we trust Him and surrender. Martha didn’t want the tomb opened, for fear of the smell of the body, but she surrendered anyway. And when the stone was rolled away, and her brother walked out into the sunlight, she understood that paradoxical truth: that our greatest pain, surrendered to God, can be turned to joy.
What do you suppose the early church thought when persecution chased them from Jerusalem, where they would have stayed forever if given the choice? They must have thought all the things we think when trouble comes. “Why is God allowing this? Why doesn’t He step in and intercede? This isn’t good … it certainly can’t be of God.”
And yet that persecution scattered them throughout the world, where they spread the light of the gospel. What looked like a tragedy was all part of God’s plan, and it all worked for His glory.
The next time a problem, obstacle, trial, disappointment, sudden change or loss arrives on your doorstep, take a moment to consider that God has allowed it, and has His own plans for everything in your life. Surrender, and wait to see the beauty He brings forth out of those ashes.
I’ll be doing the same.