God Allows Circumstances for His Purposes

In God’s plan, more was going on than what met the eye. Although uncomfortable physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, God allowed these circumstances in the lives of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha for something greater. The immediate circumstance did not reveal the totality of what God was doing. In our own circumstances, it is important to remember God does have a greater plan than what we can immediately see.

In today’s post we continue on Principles to Remember in Crisis. Today’s principle: God allows circumstances for His purposes.

Recently in the first post of this series, we revealed that the Apostle Paul provided two vital steps to persevere in trials or crisis. The first step, in a world with false teachers, false belief systems, and false hope, the Apostle reminds us to stand firm in what we know. The second step is to hold fast the traditions which we have been taught or learned from the Word. We simply identified those steps as: (1) Remember key principles and (2) Obey practical steps to encourage our perseverance.

This is our fourth principle to remember.

God Allows Circumstances for His Purposes (John 11).

We need to look no further than the story of Lazarus to see this principle illustrated in the Scriptures. Remember that Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha, were some of Jesus’ closest friends. This Mary is the one who anointed Jesus with very expensive fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair. They lived in Bethany, about two miles away from Jerusalem. In this situation, Lazarus gets real sick so Mary and Martha send for Jesus to come and heal him. They sent this message: “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick” (John 11:3).

John explains what happens next:

When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” (John 11:4-7)

The disciples with Jesus were not happy about going to Judea. The Jews sought to kill Jesus there before, so they warned Jesus to not go.

Jesus explains:

“Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”

Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.”

However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.

Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.” (John 11:11-15)

Jesus pointed out to the disciples that more was afoot than what they understood. As the story continues, they walk to Bethany, which was a two-day journey. When they arrive, Lazarus had been dead and buried for four days. Many women from Jerusalem had joined Mary and Martha to mourn Lazarus’ death.

As Jesus approached Bethany, still a ways out of town, Martha heard He was on His way. Martha went out to meet Him. She said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21).

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