Many years ago, my college boyfriend and I took his nieces and nephew to an amusement park on Spring Break. We drove four hours only to arrive and find, in epic Wally World fashion, that the park was closed (in spite of our travel agent telling us it was open). We had no choice but to turn around and drive back home, another four hours. I was reminded of this recently when my own kids and I drove two hours to visit a museum, only to find that it was closed indefinitely (in spite of its website saying it was open).
Christmas is coming and the holiday season is upon us. For those facing difficult circumstances, it’s a long season of reminders of everything that should be that isn’t. Of everything that has been lost or broken or stolen or destroyed. Of questioning “but God…why?” God seems distant, in spite of his promise to always be open.
In John chapter 11, Lazarus was sick. His sisters sent for Jesus but he didn’t come. Lazarus died. Jesus showed up four days later. Martha cried out to him…
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”
Jesus responded to her weeping. He was troubled. He was deeply moved. He too wept.
Jesus is troubled by our troubles
Jesus weeps when we weep
Jesus is deeply moved by our desperate circumstances
Jesus gave the order to roll away the stone. Martha replied…
“But Lord…it’s too late.”
Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” and promptly called Lazarus from the grave and the clutches of death.
It’s never too late for God to manifest His glory in your life.
If we believe…belief in what? Or in whom? Belief in Jesus as the resurrection and the life. Belief in God’s promises to work our circumstances for our good and his glory. Belief that he rolls away the cold stones in our hearts…stones of bitterness and unforgiveness, selfishness and impatience, anger and resentment, doubt and unbelief. Belief that he replaces Satan’s lies with God’s truth about who we are because of who He is. Beloved. Forgiven. Chosen. Adopted. Holy. Blameless. Graced.
But God…shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8, ESV)
This is the hope that does not disappoint us: that God’s love has been poured into our hearts (Romans 5:5). As He works everything (that’s everything, especially the bad stuff) for our good and His glory, He turns OUR “but Gods” into HIS “but Gods.” He turns our disappointments into divine appointments that strengthen our faith and cause us to rely more fully on Him.
It’s never too late for your “but God” to become His “but God”
How would you fill in the blank?
Lord, if you had been there, _________ would not have happened.
Where have you placed your hope in this situation? Is it in your belief that things will change, or in your belief that through hardship you will see the glory of God? That you will see him demonstrate His love and faithfulness to you with lavish grace? It may or may not end up in changed circumstances, but it will end up in a changed you. Will you trust Him with it?
Because of his grace…we rejoice in hope of the glory of God
(from Romans 5:2, ESV)