This morning, with a cup of coffee and a dark, quiet house around me, I was reading this...
Of course, I'm over one year behind on this daily reading, so you know this is not as routine as I'd like it to be.
Here's the nugget I loved...
"Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days." (Italics are mine.)
What?!! Imagine me with my face scrunched up (not hard to do, I know).
He loved them. So...he showed his love by returning to Bethany immediately? By sending one of his disciples back to heal Lazarus? By fasting and praying for his dear friends? Nah. Jesus stayed where he was for two more days.
Because that's the reasonable thing to do when you love someone.
Excuse my sarcasm here. I know I've had to ask God to forgive my sarcasm at times. Because although I've never died or buried my dear brother, I've definitely had times of waiting in my life, times of suffering and sorrow. And my heart overflowed with sarcasm and downright anger that God did not rescue me. To think that "God loves me, YET..." is difficult.
God loves me, just like He loved Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. BECAUSE of that love, He chooses to let me remain where I am sometimes. Painful moments of waiting, sorrowful times of agony. And although we might rant against a God who would dare to do this to us or allow it, He answers, "I love you, yet..." It's because of His love that He chooses to allow things in our lives. As simplistic as it might sound, a dear friend's mantra does seem adequate in these times: God loves me and He knows what's best. I might add...even if I hate it. Even if I don't deserve it (or DO deserve it).
His love requires a "Yet" because it's in the "yet" moments that He woos me, despite all rational analysis, to surrender. And that little three-letter word - yet - does not mean His love is conditional. The "yet" is LIFE within the safety of His unconditional love. Miserable, marvelous, or mundane, it's all a "yet" that passes by. I can either abide in Him through it all, or not. But the more I know about Jesus, the more empty I think that latter option sounds.
Twice in this passage, Jesus says, "that you [they] may believe." The "yet" is often planted right in our lives to draw us, and others, closer to Jesus. Perhaps this sounds odd, but the trials in my life seem easier to swallow if they have a purpose. This comforts me. It also reveals a weak faith on my part, that I must continuously question the purpose of trials, as if I need an answer to everything. (Note to self: see Job for God's answer.) So, if the yet-moments draw myself or someone else closer to Jesus, it really is a JOY to be a part of the process.
One final thought - no matter which I choose, either to surrender and submit to my loving Father or to fight His will every step of the way, God is always glorified. He doesn't need me to be a willing participant, He doesn't need me at all. But He invites me to be a part of the "yet." I want to say "Yes" to His invitation!
Embracing the "yets" in my own life and the One who allows them,