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But LORD! If only You had been there...

11:1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. . . . . 3 The sisters therefore sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard it, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”  5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6 When therefore He heard that he was sick, He stayed then two days longer in the place where He was. . . . . 11 This He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awaken him out of sleep.”  12 The disciples therefore said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. 14 Then Jesus therefore said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.” . . . . . 17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. . . . . . 20 Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him; but Mary still sat in the house. 21 Martha therefore said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 “Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother shall rise again.”  24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this? ”  27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” 28 And when she had said this, she went away, and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, “The Teacher is here, and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she arose quickly, and was coming to Him. . . . . 32 Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her, also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled, 34 and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 And so the Jews were saying, “Behold how He loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have kept this man also from dying?”  (John 11:1, 3-6, 11-15, 17, 20-29, 32-37 NAS)

But Lord, if You had been here, I would not be going through this! Lord, if You had only been here I wouldn’t be separated! LORD! If You had been here, I wouldn’t be divorced and my family in a shambles. All my hopes and dreams are gone. My Husband refuses to forgive me and come home. Lord, my Wife is gone! She left me and the kids — telling me how she doesn’t love me anymore. Where were you Lord? WHERE WERE YOU!! WHY DIDN’T YOU SHOW UP WHEN I NEEDED YOU MOST?!?!

Where is God when you need Him most? Where is He in the midst of your circumstances? Your life is falling down all around you and you wonder how this could be happening! Why is it happening? Is this really happening to you? You pray. You seek God. And everything seems to go from bad to worse. And all your genuine heart-felt questions seem to fall on deaf ears – that is, if they ever make it past the ceiling… It doesn’t make any sense. You get angry. You become bitter. All the questions. But no answers. I mean He said He loved me! He promised He would never leave us or forsake us, right?

When the two-minute siren sounds and the tornado strikes, it can leave you feeling nearly as devastated as those in Joplin, MO. Your whole world has been smashed into nothing leaving you to pick through the debris — clinging to what is left.

8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 NAS)

What that means is most of what God does won’t make any sense. Even if you’ve been walking with God. But what does make sense is that you trust Him with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Mary and Martha can relate. They called to the Great Physician to come to them to heal their very sick brother whom they loved and whom Jesus loved. They sent a servant to seek out the Lord on their behalf who said “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” The disciples are ready to go immediately but listen to what Jesus says to them; “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” Then what happens next is amazing! Jesus stayed put! He stayed two more days where He was! He didn’t go immediately to Mary and Martha — and their beloved brother, Lazarus, died. When Jesus did go, the first words out of Martha’s and Mary’s mouth were “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” You can hear it in their statements — “Where were you Lord? We sent for you! Why didn’t You come?”

Whether financial difficulties, job loss, death of a beloved family member — and even in separation and divorce — we have a decision to make. When we are going through the tragedy and heartbreak of separation and divorce, we can become prideful and bitter — angrily shaking our fists in defiance at God — or we can come before the Throne of Grace and hold on to God with everything we’ve got clinging to the Truths in His Word.

Why would Jesus wait two extra days? He says very plainly that it was “for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”  I can honestly say that in the beginning of my stand I did not understand that. I didn’t even come close to comprehending that. All I could feel was the weight of my own sin and how it has affected my relationship with God — and what it did to my Husband and our children — and trying to somehow make it all right again! That’s all I could think about! Where were you God? If You had been there, our Marriage wouldn’t be dead and our family would be whole — we might have been just a bit sick and near death but we’d still be Married! Why didn’t You come! Yet He still waits to bring my Prodigal Husband back to acknowledge his Savior and Lord — and heal this Marriage and family! Why? “. . . for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”

Have you ever wondered why Jesus waited until the “fourth” day? Interesting fact: When a Jewish person died, they did not embalm like we do today but rather they wrapped the body in linens and with spices and buried them that same day. They believed that the spirit of a person departed on the third day — so in order for this to truly be for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it, Jesus had to wait one more day so the religious orthodox sect could not cry foul!

Some were moved by the fact that Jesus wept for His friend Lazarus and others were full of contempt and unbelief — still. After all, Jesus the Great Healer, waited two more long days — and Lazarus died. “But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have kept this man also from dying?” Can’t you just hear some of the folks around you saying the same thing to you? He could perform all those miracles back then in the Bible but He couldn’t save your Marriage! Where was He when you needed Him most? There is no such thing as a “miracle.” Most of those who have been standing for a time — and then quit — listen to the lies of the enemy. They weren’t waiting and watching for the One Who promised. As soon as it didn’t happen when they sent for Him to come for the one He loves, they gave up their stand in disbelief. . . . Yeah, I believe He is God, but maybe He won’t heal us. Maybe He has other “more important” things to do. What the Stander-turned-Prodigal doesn’t know is that God is waiting those extra days for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it — so that they may see Him work on their behalf something more amazing than they could ever imagine. Truly abundantly more than one could ever ask or think. . . .

But in true Jesus fashion, He ignores the yapping mouths of unbelief and devilish discouragement. Instead, He tells Martha to remove the stone. Martha believed that He is the Christ, the Messiah — Yeshua HaMashiach — but she was not quite convinced that she should roll the stone away either. . . .

38 Jesus therefore again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” (John 11:38-39 NAS)

What stone is Jesus asking you to remove? Anger? Bitterness? Unbelief? Unfaithfulness? Disobedience to His call to Stand for your Prodigal Spouse? What if you removed the stone? Would there be a foul smell? If Jesus were to ask you to roll the stone away, would you argue with Him and hang on to your stone of bitterness and pride? Your stone of unbelief in His ability to heal your Marriage? Would you hang on to the stone of worldly divorce and move on with your life? Or would you trust Him!

40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”  41 And so they removed the stone. And Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank Thee that Thou heardest Me. 42 “And I knew that Thou hearest Me always; but because of the people standing around I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me.” 43 And when He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” 44 He who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings; and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11:40-44 NAS)

Stander listen! Did He not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?

19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19 NAS)

The Jesus that raised Lazarus to life so that he would die again someday is the same Jesus that will raise His eyes to His Father and say; “Father, I thank Thee that Thou heardest Me. 42 “And I knew that Thou hearest Me always; but because of the people standing around I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me.” 43 And when He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “[PRODIGAL], come forth.”  And your Prodigal Husband or Wife will come forth from the tomb of death and freed of the sinful wrappings that bind them — and the eyes (face) that are wrapped around with the cloth of blindness to their sin will come off and they will be set free.

“Lord, behold, the Prodigal whom You love is sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard it, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”

Roll the stone away for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it . . .

Amen.

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