My dad owns a greenhouse and it's not unusual to come home to some arrangement or potted plant proudly sitting on the counter. I remember the first time though, I watched as this beautiful display began to crumble, shrivel, and die. I did my best to care for the plant, and yet, it still suffered. Finally, the leaves turned dark brown, the blossoms faded away, and death overcame the plant. I was so frustrated– why had my dad not taken care of it?
This passage tells a similar, but much more painful story as two sisters began to watch their brother suffer, crumble in pain, and die. They did all they could to care for him, yet death still overcame him. And in their agonizing frustration they questioned– why had their heavenly Father not taken care of him?
But just when I thought death had won, my dad came home. With his skilled hands, he began to replant the flower, tenderly remove the dead parts of the plant, and water the dried out roots. And I watched in wonder as the dead plant began to grow again. I had so much more faith in my dad after I watched him revive what I thought was lost… and next time my plants began to die, I knew I just needed to put them in my dad’s hands.
Just when Mary and Martha lost all hope, as grief and sorrow began to overwhelm them, and as they buried their beloved brother, Jesus came walking. They watched in wonder as He faced death in the face and called Lazarus to rise again. This story encourages us all that next time we face suffering, next time hope seems lost as parts of us wilt away, next time Jesus seems late and death seems victorious– we need only to wait for the Father’s hands to move.
And watch as He once again calls out and raises us to life.