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Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. – John 11:5-6 (NKJV)

As the narration shifts to the sufferings that the family of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, and the ordeal they had to suffer, the Bible tells that Jesus loved them. Yes, dear friend, all these pain, sufferings and afflictions that you are undergoing, is not because the Lord has ceased loving you, but because Jesus loves you.

At the very heart of all Lord’s dealing with you, is His loving heart; the very foundation of our Lord leading you through this valley of death is His loving hand. Eternal God is your Refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27)

The situations may be as dark as they can be; the reasons for the delay in the Lord’s deliverance may be mysterious to you; but dare to believe in the unmerited, infinite, immutable love that God has for you, that He showered on you on the Cross when His only Son was crucified for your sake.

Human love tries its best to avoid pain, especially to those who we love the most. That’s why the sisters informed Jesus that “he, whom You love, is sick” (John 11:3). From their understanding of how love works, they were very sure that Jesus would do everything to heal Lazarus and prevent them from any pain. Yet the Bible tells us, “Jesus loved Martha, her sister and Lazarus. So… He stayed two more days.”

So… how much import is there in this one little word. So… Jesus delayed not because He did not love them, but because He loved them. So, He delayed. It is His divine love that kept Him from sending His Word and heal Lazarus at once. It is His immutable love for them that kept Him from rushing to their home, take hold of Lazarus and healing him. Dear friend, as the Lord delays His deliverance, when everyone is telling you that the Lord has forsaken you, that He does not love you anymore… remember this. “Jesus loves you. So, He delays.”

Why does He delay? Because He knows that this situation will not lead to your death; this will not be the end of your life; but this path is allowed in your life for the glory of God; that the Son of God will be glorified through you (John 11:4). You will become a living testimony to the love of God. Many will see what great things that the Lord has done for you, and they will accept Him as their Savior – because of you. Yes, the Lord loves you. So….

John 11_5-6

Love and boasting

boast

True love does not boast. And the LORD wants us to love Him truly, with all our heart, all our soul and all our strength. The problem with us is we confuse the LORD’s love for us with the love we must have for the LORD. And in that misunderstanding, we not only hurt the LORD, we also hurt ourselves.

In the Gospel according to Apostle John, we see a beautiful example of this. There were multitudes who came to Jesus and received His blessings. They were cured of their sickness, evil spirits were cast out and they received spiritual nourishment from the our Lord. In the midst of all these, Jesus Christ received a message.

“Lord, the one whom You love is sick.” – John 11:3 (LITV)

Though this looks like a beautiful message by people who really loved our LORD, when we look through the light of the Scriptures, we see something. Here, the sisters of Lazarus gave emphasis to the fact that Jesus loved Lazarus. There was nothing about how much they love Jesus.

Often, this is one of the problems today with us. We know that the LORD loves us. We are sure that all His promises to us will be fulfilled because He loves. When we endure suffering, the question rises: if God loves me, then why do I have to suffer? So, in everything, whether in our expectations, in our successes and in our sufferings, our focus is on only one thing: that the LORD loves us. And we forget to notice something that is blurred in the background – we forget how much our LORD is yearning for our love. How much do we really love Him?

Also note that, the message said only one thing. That Lazarus was sick. It did not tell Jesus what to do. Once again, it looks like a statement of faith, that the LORD knows better. But later, Martha tells something that shows what she really thought Jesus Christ would do on hearing their message.

“If You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
– John 11:21 (NIV)

Yes, Martha thought that Jesus Christ, who she declared as the Son of God (John 11:27), would leave everything aside as soon as He received the message and would come and heal her brother. And, there was her boasting. In that small message, her boasting was encapsulated. The LORD loves our family. We will not ask Him anything, we will just tell Him what the problem is, He will do it immediately for us. Don’t we all have the same attitude at times?

The question here is how much do we love the LORD? Do we love Him so much, we know that no matter what the situation is now, it will be always for our good? Do we love Jesus so much, we have an unshakeable faith, that instead of asking Him to come to us, we will ask Him, as the centurion said, “Lord, only say the word.”?

True love will be humble, it will have enormous faith, that asks the LORD for just to say the word. But the love that is shallow will boast and instead of faith, it will try to show off. What do we have today? The LORD God, Creator of everything, El Shaddai – the God Almighty is waiting eagerly for our true love.

No matter what our current situation is, let us love our LORD whole heartedly. And if we need deliverance, let us ask Him with faith:

Only say the Word

Leviticus 19:18““‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I AM the LORD.”

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