Sometimes I want to ask God:
“What were You thinking?!”
John 11, in the Bible, tells us the account of one family, asking Jesus the very same question.
What were You thinking, Jesus?
If you are familiar with the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, you know what I’m talking about. If not, read the account in John 11 here:
Why didn’t He run down the road to save His friend’s life? Jesus understood how grave (pun intended) the situation was. He knew the family was suffering in despair. When life becomes a struggle, we can sometimes assume Jesus does not understand how difficult or dire our situations are. We ask God why. We begin to wonder if He sees us on the road we are walking.
Have you ever wondered if God knows, cares, sees, or understands your struggles?
Scripture tells us “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So … he stayed two days longer in the place he was” (John 11:5-6). There is comfort here. God’s love is not dependent on our experience, on our grief, or our joy. The pain and grief associated with death is something Jesus is no stranger to. Even in this passage, He grieves the death of His friend. He experienced the weight of death Himself.
Jesus has walked the road of grief. He has walked the road of death. But He’s also walked the road of resurrection.
He has traveled every road we can imagine. He has ‘been there, done that’ and He is always walking our roads with us. He didn’t travel these roads just to sightsee. He traveled these roads for our redemption. He traveled these roads so that He could call us friend.
And Jesus weeps with us.
The assumption we sometimes make that God doesn’t care or isn’t concerned simply isn’t true.
“When Jesus saw her [Mary] weeping … he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.
And he said, ‘Where have you laid him?’
They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept.” John 11:33-35
Jesus wept with His friends over the death of the man they loved.
In the moments of our doubt and despair, prayer can feel like a conversation with the air. In these moments, God gives us the Holy Spirit’s intercession. The spirit groans out for us and in us.
We all have times when we question Jesus, His work in our lives, His love for us, and even who He is and what He is all about. Martha questions Jesus —
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:21
When Martha runs out on the road to find Jesus, He does not respond with a reason why he was not there in her time, but instead He reminds her who He is and His time:
“Jesus said to her “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” John 11:25-26
Spoiler alert: Lazarus did not stay dead and neither did Jesus.
When I run into grief-filled events, I ask big, huge why questions. God’s answer to “Why?” remains the same:
We may not know the why, but we know who Jesus is and what He’s done for us.
We know He is the resurrection and the life.
We know He is for us.
We know the Spirit intercedes for us.
Just as Jesus walked the road toward Lazarus, He walks the road toward us. Just as He raised Lazarus from the dead, He comes into our stinky lives reeking of death and raises us up from the grave. The voice of Jesus is the only One who could instruct a dead man to walk and Hope to enter the room.
He enters our lives and tells us to come out of our dark and death-reeking tombs. He raises us to life through baptism, through His Word, and unbinds us from our death clothes. We are now free to walk the roads of our life, free to ask Him all the questions, free to grieve, and mourn, but also to hope.
He brings resurrection and life to every road.
Up Next - Video 2: Dangerous Calling, out Sunday morning
In the Meantime - Check out our Mental Health Road Trip series. 15 minute videos to advocate for mental health along our roads and end the stigma. Video 1 = Meeting People Where They Are