When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:32

But YOU PROMISED!

How many times, as children, did we use this phrase with our parents? How many times have our children used it with us? Sometimes, circumstances change and we just can’t deliver on what we said we would.

How many times have we used that phrase with God?

God, YOU PROMISED that you would supply all of my needs, but my lights were cut off anyway!

God, YOU PROMISED that you could heal sick bodies, but my loved one died anyway!

God, YOU PROMISED that my marriage could be forever, but my spouse walked out on me anyway!

The thing is, with God it isn’t an inability to deliver. We have to take a step back, just like with Lazarus. Yes, Jesus knew ahead of time that His friend was sick. Yes, He could very well have gone right when He heard, and healed Lazarus, and we would have had another deathbed resurrection recorded in the Gospels. But there is a bigger picture going on that we can’t always see at the time. It was a more powerful witness to God’s might to bring back a four-day-dead man, already starting to decompose, than to bring one back who had stopped breathing for a few minutes. The first is way more difficult to discredit or explain away than the second! And Jesus’ own resurrection was itself foreshadowed in the act.

In this life we will encounter difficulties and disappointments. You can count on that. But my prayer today is that instead of stomping our feet and getting angry with God, we take another look at the situation. Instead of “why did you let this happen?” we need to ask “what are You up to here?” Instead of blaming, we need to be searching for the “upper story” that He is trying to weave in our lives.

Lazarus’ death was no surprise to Jesus, and your issues are no surprise to your Creator either. Whatever you are looking at today, remember Lazarus. Remember to step back, look up, and look around, and see the bigger picture that’s taking place in your life.

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