Lazarus was dying.
He and his sisters, Mary and Martha, had established a special connection with Jesus. John 11 tells us Jesus loved them.
Surely, when they called for Jesus to come, he would show up right away and speak healing over Lazarus. All would be well. Lazarus would be made whole.
But Jesus didn’t come.
Not right away, anyway.
He stayed where he was for a couple days after receiving word that Lazarus was gravely ill. By the time he traveled to their city, Lazarus had died.
Take notice of what happens when Jesus draws near to their city: Martha gets word of it, and runs out to meet him.
Mary responds differently. She’s not excited about Jesus’ arrival. John 11:20 tells us, “But Mary sat still in the house.”
Then Martha seems to speak what’s in Mary’s heart. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”
I wonder if Mary was offended. Hurt. Feeling betrayed.
This Jesus who loved them, who they loved, didn’t seem to make them a priority when they needed him most. He didn’t come when they called. Now their brother had spent four days in the grave already. Hope was gone. Perhaps she was even a little mad at God.
Have you felt that way?
Can we pause right here?
Offenses will come. (Luke 17:1, Matthew 18:7)
And you might feel like Mary.
Don’t give up hope.
Don’t get bitter.
Don’t be offended.
Maybe your frustration isn’t directed at God. Maybe it’s at a friend or family member who wronged you. Maybe it’s toward a minister or pastor. Maybe it’s because of your spouse or your grown child.
Don’t let a thorn in your flesh become a thorn in your spirit.
There will be struggles and disappointment in this life. There will be problem people who rub on you like rough sandpaper, and you’ll feel like there’s nothing you can do about it but cry and hurt and bleed.
With the right perspective, rough sandpaper can make you smooth and beautiful. It can give you a compassionate spirit towards others. It can help you be mindful and encouraging to someone else in a similar situation.
I have a friend who says, “If you spit on me, I’ll assume my hair is on fire and you’re trying to put it out.”
It’s about perspective.
But there’s one more thing you should notice about Mary’s story. Martha went back into the house for her, saying, “The Master is come, and is calling for thee.”
He’s calling for you, too.
He’s calling for you to come out past your pain, your disappointment, your hurting heart… and come to him.
He’s not done yet. There’s more to your story. He raised Lazarus from the dead after all hope was gone.
What will he do in your life?
What will he do for the people you love?
Will a spirit of offense get in the way? Or will you, like Mary, answer his call, fall at his feet, and tearfully lay it all down for him to carry?
We can get bitter, or we can get better.
What will you choose to do with the thorn in your flesh? Will you stop it there, or allow it to get into your spirit?
It’s up to you <3
Praying for you today, sweet friend,
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