“It is in our greatest difficulties that God reveals Himself most clearly.”
We humans spend most of our lives seeking comfort and pleasure, security and significance. We avoid pain, sorrow, and sadness like the plague. We go to unbelievable extremes to solve every problem, cheer ourselves up, and stay away from anything difficult. When was the last time you thought, “O goody! A problem!”
Yet at the same time, we should know by now that all of these things we seek don’t lead us closer to God. In fact, they lead us away from God, toward self-sufficiency. It is not in our comfort but in our difficulties that we draw closer to God.
The biggest difficulty we face in this life is death. It is the ultimate enemy and every movie we watch tells us so. Even the scriptures call it the Last Enemy. And for Mary and Martha, it was an enemy who had won the battle, stealing their brother Lazarus away from them. They had called Jesus, their friend and healer, but He was too late.
And yet it is in the face of death that we get the most powerful statement of Jesus’ identity in the whole of scripture: “I Am the resurrection and the life.” John puts this story at the very center of his gospel, literally and thematically, to emphasize this point. As these friends faced the greatest difficulty of their lives, the premature death of their brother, they saw God revealed in Jesus Christ in a way they never could have before.
When we are tempted to avoid our difficulties, or blame God for them, lets first take a moment, even in their midst, to see how God might be revealing Himself and drawing us closer to Him in the midst of them.