Recently a friend of mine went home to heaven and I felt Jesus speak the above words to my grieving heart. It wasn’t a rebuke but rather a question that needed clarifying, purely for my sake, not for God’s. He already knew the answer to His question but it was me who needed to verbalise the answer.
‘Yes I do believe this Lord’, I found myself responding. As I meditated on my response, the comfort of God enveloped me. The tears still flowed of course and under such circumstances, they should. Grieving was an appropriate response but so was my statement of faith.
In context, these words were actually spoken to Martha, by Jesus, over 2000 years ago. Her brother Lazarus had been dead in the tomb for four days and by her response in the verses earlier, it was obviously not the outcome she had hoped for. In verse 21 & 22 we read Martha says to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’
Such faith filled words from a grieving woman! I wonder if Martha knew what Jesus was about to do, or did the words simply flow from her spirit through her mouth, before she had time to intellectually dissect them? I don’t know, but she did protest when Jesus commanded ‘take away the stone.’ Martha was worried about the potential smell of a rotting corpse and was quick to explain so.
Did Jesus raise a frustrated eyebrow or simply smile to Himself? Remember that He was good friends with Martha and her family and knew them very well. We are not told anything about Jesus’ body language in this story. His next statement would have quickly got her attention though, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?1" Then Jesus proceeded to raise Lazarus from the dead.
My friend is no longer with us here on earth, but she is wonderfully alive with God in heaven. The Apostle Paul tells us that to be absent from the body is to be home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8) and that thought comforts me. My friend knew Jesus as the resurrection and the life, and for her the toils of this earthly life are now over.
Despite the sense of loss I still feel, I am happy that for her that there will be no more night, no more mourning, no more sorrow and no more pain. Also one day I know there will be a wonderful reunion between her and those who are presently still on earth, so I don’t need to grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). For those of you who are grieving right now, I pray that you too would know the comfort of the Lord.
Prayer: Jesus, I do believe that You conquered the power of death on the cross and it no longer can hurt us. ‘Where O death, is Your victory? Where, O death, is Your sting?’ Eternity with God is our inheritance. Amen! Amen! Amen! (1 Corinthians 15:55). Amen.
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