One of the things I loved about teaching was sharing great books with my students. I still love reading, but find I don't work through the books as quickly as I did my pre-Little Man days!
One of my favorite authors is a husband/wife team, Bodie and Brock Thoene. They write Historical Christian Fiction, and their writing is incredible. One of their series is the A.D. Chronicles, which takes you back to the walk with Jesus as he journeyed on this Earth. It's an amazing series, because it takes the Truth of God's Word and brings new things to light as you ponder the REAL people who walked with Jesus. I just finished The Seventh Day. The major story line centered on Lazarus.
I found many connections with people in my life who I know are struggling with some of the very questions Mary and Martha must have had as their brother grew sicker and died and Jesus stayed away. Can you imagine what they felt? They were close to Jesus, they loved him and were loved by him. They watched their dear brother grow sick and weaken to the point that death was breathing in the room with them. Jesus could have come. He could have been there and said one word and health would have returned instantly. He could have just spoken a word from far away, just like he had to bring healing to the Centurion's servant. But he didn't. Death won.
Have you been there? Have you been in a situation where death was about to strike? Death of a loved one, death of a dream, or death of hope? Did you ask the question- Why--- why didn't you stop it, God?
The thing about Lazarus's story is that we know the ending. The story doesn't stop with death, it keeps going to life. Jesus delays his journey to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, but finally does travel to Bethany and there further reveals who he is by bringing someone back to life who has been in the grave for 3 days. His Father receives even GREATER glory and His identity is further revealed.
So, how does this speak to these dear people who have had their hopes die? Our God is the same God. He has a purpose. He hasn't lost control of any situation. We aren't abandoned and alone. Like Jesus who wept when he came to Bethany because of the sorrow of those he loved, God weeps at our pain. AND He is still at work. Priscilla Shirer writes in He Speaks to Me, "Trials and challenges are inevitable. We must learn to expect them, submit to them, and learn from them. However, rest assured that behind every challenge we will find God orchestrating the circumstances to build us up and bring Himself glory."
This is the message my heart is holding to and the message I want those that are grieving to cling to: He's at work to bring himself glory and to further build our relationship with Him, even when we ask, "Why did you allow that to happen?"