hope again

I'm sure you're familiar with this story. But bear with me for a moment... Mary and Martha's brother was sick, and they sent word to Jesus to let Him know.

"When He heard this, Jesus said, 'This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it.' Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days... On His arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb..."

Jesus had told his disciples that "this sickness will not end in death". And yet... Lazarus died.

We have the benefit of knowing how the story progressed from there---that Lazarus would be raised from the dead---but no one there did.

All they knew was that Lazarus died. And that Jesus could've healed him---that He even implied He would---and yet He didn't...

In those moments, I'm sure it was impossible for them to imagine that "will not end in death" could possibly still be true. Lazarus was dead, for crying out loud.

But even still, Jesus' words were truth. And everyone eventually saw them come to pass when Lazarus was resurrected.

Smack in the middle of the story though, while they were all grieving the death of their friend, Jesus spoke some words that make me stop breathing for a moment:

"For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe..."

He was talking about the fact that He hadn't been there to heal Lazarus before he died. "I am glad I was not there..." Wha? He's glad His friend died? He's glad his sisters' hearts broke in grief? He's glad??!!

"For your sake... so that you may believe... it is for God's glory..."

Often what God does and allows in my life does not make sense to me. Yet His promise is that it's for my good and His glory. Even when it doesn't seem like it.

Even when death has already sunk its teeth in. Hard.

In those moments, He still says "I am glad... for your sake." And while that pains my heart in so many ways as I think about my life right now, I want to believe there is pure love in that statement.

I'm no longer hoping that I'll be spared from the agonizing pain of my journey. I'm not asking to be saved from the fiery furnace... because I'm already in it. I've been in it for a long time.

I want to believe that it "won't end in death" even though death is already here.

I want to believe that He loves making beauty from ashes, life out of brokenness, and a new beginning where there is nothing but finality.

I want to somehow find hope again.

Not in rescue, but in resurrection.