DSG | Discipleship Study Guide | Vineyard Boise

No. | John 11.4-6

Gospel of John headerWEDNESDAY
Reflection 133 of 240

But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
John 11:4-6 | ESV

Jesus heard the messenger out, and then in response to their assumption that he would do something about this, he said, “This sickness is not about his death, it’s an occasion for God’s beauty to be put on display by the Son through it.” Now this was personal for Jesus, he loved that little rebel Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus (God Help Him). So when he heard that he was sick like that, despite his love, he stayed put for two more days. He didn’t move a muscle or say a word.  MAV

“Is any among you sick? …the prayer of faith will save the sick…”
“Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you shall find…”
“Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it shall be done for you.”

Such statements in Scripture seem to have such a carte blanche, blank check, guarantee air to them. And many insist we cash them just that way.

But what happens when the check bounces?
What happens when you are two sisters watching the brother you love more than life fading away right before your eyes,
and then you call for Jesus to come.


He says, “No.”

What happens when Jesus stays put on the other side of the river?
What happens when he doesn’t show?
Worse – what happens when he seems to communicate that all will be fine – “this sickness will not result in death, but in the glory of God” – so you assume all will be well (though seeing his face would still be much more reassuring)…

Only your brother still does in fact die, and Jesus is still a no show.

You mourn and wail and weep.
And there’s no Jesus.

You prepare his body for burial.
Still no Jesus.

The day of the funeral arrives.
No Jesus.

The procession carries his corpse and places it in the tomb.
No Jesus.

The great stone is rolled across the door of the tomb, sealing him in, the finality of it sounding to the depths of your soul.


What happens when God says, “No”?
What happens when Jesus is a no show?
What happens when you are left with the finality of that moment not before an empty tomb,
but one filled not merely with the body of a loved one, but with your own entombed heart?
What happens when you are “fed with the bread of tears” and “given tears to drink in full measure” (Psalm 80:5)?
What happens when you discover that faith, after all, isn’t an insurance policy
that shields you from all the bad stuff?

What do we do then?

What is the most significant instance in which you experienced God saying, “No” and Jesus was seemingly a no show? What happened? How did you find your way through this?

Abba, help me to remember that you are my Abba when the circumstances of life and death would seem to indicate otherwise. Hold me close during those times when life is so very hard and you seem so very distant. Rekindle the embers of my faith and hope when life and death have snuffed out the flame in me. Through Jesus.



3 responses

  1. Sherri

    Processing this on a personal level. It was a very deep heart ache when my father died, however it was also the time when the Lord showed Himself to me and saw how loved I am.

    April 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    • The true meaning of bitter-sweet…having worked through the loss of both my mother and my father to cancer, I think I know what you mean! Thank you for sharing. Blessings to you in your journey, Sherri!

      April 2, 2014 at 10:00 pm

  2. Reblogged this on DEVOTIONAL ODES.

    April 4, 2014 at 3:37 am

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