This afternoon during nap time I read this little book, Comfort In Sorrow by Robert Murray McCheyne. It was really good, going through the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in John 11, verse by verse. I shared a few parts below that "stood out" to me....
"Lord, he whom thou lovest is sick" John 11:3
They lay the object at his feet and leave it there. They do not say, "Come and heal him, come quickly, Lord." They know His love, they believe His wisdom. They leave the case in His hands: "Lord, He whom thou lovest is sick." They did not plead, but let their misery plead for them. Learn that urgency in prayer does not so much consist in vehement pleading, as in vehement believing. He who believes most the love and power of Jesus will receive the most in prayer.
"This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." John 11:4
It brings out graces that cannot be seen in a time of health. It is the treading of the grapes that brings out the sweet juices of the vine; so it is affliction that draws forth submission, weanedness from the world, and complete rest in God. Use afflictions while you have them.
"When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was" John 11:6
He sees the end from the beginning. Known unto Him are all his works from the foundation of the world....He saw when Lazarus died, but the future was before Him as well. He knew what he would do, that the grave would yield up his dead, and that He would soon turn their weeping into songs of rejoicing. Therefore He stayed where He was, just because he was God. So, when Christ delays to help His saints now, you think this is a great mystery, you cannot explain it, but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. Be still and know that Christ is God.
If Christ seems to tarry past the time that He has promised; wait for Him, for He will come, and will not tarry. He has good reason for it, whether you can see it or not. And never forget that He loves even when He tarries. He loved the Syrophoenician woman even when He answered her not a word....Wait on the Lord, it is good to wait for Christ.
"Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep." John 11:11
Learn to search patiently into the meaning of Christ's words.....and go to Him for light. When you are reading in a dark room, and come to a difficult part, you take it the window to get more light. So take your Bibles to Christ.
"And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him." John 11:15
Christ orders all events for his glory. Learn that if you are His, He will work all things together for your good and His own glory. Learn to trust Him, then, in the dark, in the darkest frowns of providence, in the most painful delays. Learn to wait upon Him. "It is good for a man both to hope and to quietly wait for the salvation of God." He is good to the soul that waits for Him.
"Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God." John 11:27
This shows how faith and love spring up in the heart. Some of you seek for faith much in the same way as you would dig a well. You turn the eye inward upon yourself and search your heart to find if faith is there; you search amid all your feelings at sermons and sacraments to see if faith is there; and still you find nothing but sin and disappointment.
Learn Martha's plan. She looked full in the face of Jesus....she drank in His word: "I am the resurrection and the life'" and in spite of all she saw and felt, she could not but believe....Faith comes by hearing the voice of Jesus.
"And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always." John 11:42
Get alone with God. Spend as much time alone with God as you can every day; and then, in sudden temptations and afflictions, you will be able to lift your heart easily even among the crowd to your father's ear.
"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
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