Lazarus is dead, Jesus is off on a ministry trip, or so He says. Mary and Martha, the beloved sisters are inconsolable. Messengers sent to fetch Jesus to heal Lazarus before he dies return empty handed. Time passes. An inappropriate amount of time. Jesus is late. Rudely so.
Lazarus, the bread winner, the fixer, the life of the party, the adult male from whom the families sustenance is supposed to flow.....dead.
The one man who could've prevented the untimely death inexplicably delays his arrival. Even after he knows Lazarus is dead, he delays. Confusion abounds. Murmuring ensues. Dark shadows of doubt creep closer. Distrust and anger. Hurt feelings. All part of the families' emotions now. Death is final.
Finally Jesus arrives. Four days late. Mary, to hurt to respond stays in the house. Martha runs to meet Him in the way. Her words, not mine. "Jesus, if you would have been here, Lazarus would not have died. Nevertheless, I know God will give you whatever you ask".
Nevertheless? Really? Is this something you say when death is final? When the healer is late. When the dreams are dead and buried?
The first part I get. "If you would have been here, our beloved Lazarus, our brother, our provider, our fixer, our life of the party would not have died". I get this. In fact, I've often said the same exact thing. "Jesus, if you would have shown up a few days earlier, or if you would have done this or that, these dreams of mine would still be alive". Never have I followed it with "nevertheless". This has never occurred to me to say. The dreams died. I've had a five year funeral, grieved and now looking to replace the dreams with something more "realistic", less lofty, less "God given". Something I can achieve on my own without help.
Nevertheless. A powerful word. Jesus told Martha, "He shall rise again" Martha of course knew this would happen in the resurrection of the dead. But Jesus was the resurrection, only she didn't recognize Him as such. Moved by compassion and her faith, Jesus did the only thing He could, He transcended time and space and asked God to bring the resurrection she was expecting in the future into the present. Lazarus lived again! The same man, the same provider, the same life of the party, the same fixer, the same brother lived again! Only this time with a tale to tell of His goodness.
"Nevertheless, whatever you ask of God He will give it to you". Whatever God gives is much better than what we expect. Dreams dead? Nevertheless, ask God. Receive whatever He gives.
I've been Mary, to hurt to respond. I am becoming Martha who is willing to say, nevertheless.....and then accept it as better than whatever it was that died. And I will live to tell the tale.