After Martha said this, she went back and talked to her sister Mary alone. Martha said, “The Teacher is here and he is asking for you.” John 11:28

His final days were excruciatingly painful. She spent her time going from his bedside to looking down the street to see if they were coming. She had friends, fellow mourners, posted at the gate of the small town, ready to send word as soon as they could be seen along the dusty path.

Time was running out. Her brother, Lazarus, was weakening fast. Where was he? How could he delay at a time like this? She counted the days. She’d sent him word two days ago. There had been time for him to make the trip. He should have been here by now.

One last look down the street. Nothing. Her gaze and thoughts were interrupted by Martha’s touch on her shoulder.

“He’s gone.”

She ran to his side. His lifeless body still warm, but it was obvious he was no longer there. She wept. She lay across his body. This, her only brother, her friend. In the Jewish family system, when the father died, the oldest brother took his place. For the first time in her adult life she felt like an orphan. If only they’d come. If only they’d been the kind of friends they said they were. The teacher said he’d be with her always! Where was he now?

The days ahead were a blur of memories and mourning; of preparations and decisions; of greeting members of the community and family who’d come to comfort. She was gracious. She was always gracious. But she often cast an eye down the street to see if they had come.

She sat in her room a couple days after the funeral. “Strange,” She thought, “I’m not sure if I’m sad the Teacher didn’t come or angry; disgusted or disappointed; confused or…”

Her thoughts were interrupted by Martha’s touch, “The Teacher is here and he is asking for you.”

There was no hesitation. She ran to him and hugged him, held him as she sobbed into his arms. Once she composed herself in anguish she whispered, barely audibly, “If only you’d been here he wouldn’t have died.” There was anguish in her voice to be sure, but no doubt.

We often read the story of Lazarus and focus on the resurrection of this dearly loved man without considering the emotion of the other players in the story. Few, if any of us, will ever see someone rise from the dead, all of us have experienced the absence of God in the midst of troubling times.

God’s silence is not an indicator of his apathy to your pain. While Jesus didn’t appear when Mary and Martha hoped, his appearance fulfilled their need in His time, not theirs. What struggle are you going through? What event have you invited God to attend, but gotten no answer? We can’t understand his timing, but we should never doubt that he will come to us in his time.

He is risen. He is risen, indeed! Let the prayer below guide you in falling into the Saviors arms. He’s asking for you.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus. This turmoil I’m going through right now seems unbearable.  I’ve looked for your presence but can’t find it. I invite you to come now to comfort, strengthen and renew me. Amen.