" When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” "
In this Sunday's Gospel (from the Scrutinies), we heard the story of Lazarus' death and how Jesus raised him from the dead. The story goes that Jesus was given word that Lazarus was very ill and close to death. His heart went out to Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. He decided to travel to see these three, but he moved rather slowly and when he arrived, Lazarus had already died.
Hold on. Jesus says in John 11:4 that the sickness will not end in death. Jesus must be a liar. But we already know he's not.
Jesus knew that Lazarus would die and that he would raise him from death. But he allowed enough time for Lazarus to die and for the family and friends to mourn.
Why? Why would he let Lazarus die, knowing that he would live again shortly? Why would he allow Mary and Martha and all of Lazarus' family and friends to suffer when he was fully capable of curing Lazarus' illness? Certainly it was God's will that Lazarus didn't end up dead, so why let him die at all?
Yes, it was God's will that Lazarus eventually lived. The key word here being eventually. It would have been a miracle had Jesus arrived in time and cured Lazarus of his illness. That would have been awesome. There would have been so much rejoicing. So why not? If he loved Mary and Martha and Lazarus so much that he himself wept over Lazarus' death, why couldn't he have spared them all this temporary grief?
Well Jesus already had a pretty great track record. He'd healed paralyzed people, blind men, sick children, sick servants. He'd done marvelous deeds, taught incredible lessons. He'd shaken the world with his goodness. And yet so few really believed in him. Nobody was getting it.
Mary and Martha didn't get it. His own disciples were afraid of going back to Judea. They didn't even get it. Even these, his closest companions, weren't entirely sold on the idea of him being the actual living breathing Son of God.
They were all still blind to God's glory. So God's will was that his glory could be revealed. So yes, God's will was that Lazarus would eventually live, but only after he had died. He allowed his children whom he loved to go through this temporary grief in order for them to understand the power and glory of God when he relieved them of their grief.
So try to be patient as we tread our way through the last two weeks of Lent. Remember that God's got it under control, even when we can't understand what's going on. Even when it seems God's let us down and shown up too late, he's got a better plan in mind. So hold tight when you're going through it and remember that this is only temporary and ever-lasting relief is on the way.
Have a trusting day