I'm reading Seventh Day, by Bodie Thoene. It's basically the story of Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus, who were friends of Jesus. They were sometimes His hosts, when He was near Jerusalem.
And then Lazarus got sick, very sick. Mary and Martha KNEW Jesus could heal their brother, because they had seen Him heal so many others. He just had to say the word, even from a distance. So they sent Him word that Lazarus, "the one you love," was ill.
They were asking for a miracle, in complete faith. Jesus had done this before; they had seen it with their own eyes. And He was their friend, so of course He would do the same for them. Total faith.
I have done that a few times in recent months. I've seen other people's lives changed in this way or that, and God glorified from it, so why not mine, too? I've asked, believing.
Most recently, I could plainly see how it was amazing that our offer on a short sale home was accepted. I could clearly see us settling into that beautiful oasis of a back yard for years to come. Evenings in lawn chairs, with a breeze rustling the leaves overhead, and maybe a little koi pond nearby, with a waterfall. The house would provide for our needs; the yard would be food for the soul.
Mary and Martha tended to their sick brother, and he died. What? How? Noooo.... The tears, the questions, the anger. Waiting until the last moment to wrap his body, because even now Jesus could bring life back into this dear man. And finally, acceptance. Wrapping the body. A public burial. The whole town knew that these friends of Jesus were abandoned by Him in their time of need. He healed others, but (they probably speculated) when His life was threatened by local authorities, He was too cowardly to return to heal His friend. Oh, the things they doubtless said about Jesus!
And Jesus, from a distance, tells those with Him that this is for God's glory. That Lazarus has indeed died, but this is for your benefit.
No, you didn't get that house with that oasis yard that you thought you wanted. The deal died. But this is for God's glory and your benefit.
Four days. Lazarus had been in the tomb four days when Jesus walked up the dusty road into town. "If you had been here, my brother would not have died." "It's too late now. His body stinks." "If only you had been here."
If He had healed Lazarus before he died, only those closest to the family would have believed it. But because they had gone through the public mourning, the whole town knew about Jesus' power. "Lazarus, come forth!"
I don't know what is next for us. But aparently we aren't supposed to sit in our own little oasis and sip iced tea. I think maybe I was trying to skip ahead to Heaven. We still have work to do here. May God be glorified.