Where are You Jesus? - Encouragement Café - February 22, 2017

Where Are You Jesus?
By Noelle Dey

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

“So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days.”  John 11:5-6 (NLT)

My fear was crippling. 

And it made no sense.  When I was 23, I was diagnosed with a terminal kidney disease.  Six years after that, God miraculously delivered me from heart failure and the physical agony of life support.  And when I was 31, my parents died 62 days apart.  I’ve lived through panic attacks and anxiety.

But it was the hurricane of my husband’s severe depression, anxiety and OCD that took the oxygen out of my soul.

My faith pillar.  The love of my life.  The man who so beautifully and ruggedly resembled Jesus had morphed into someone I no longer recognized.

God provided Christ-centered counselors and a compassionate, gifted psychiatrist.  Every angle was covered: counseling sessions, medicines and behavioral therapy.  Prayer warriors surrounded us.

But where was our deliverance?  We desperately needed rescue.  I banked on God’s promises of healing.  Days… months… years passed, but darkness prevailed.

And then I saw our story in today’s key verses. 

Mary, Martha and Lazarus were some of Jesus’ best friends.  Lazarus had become quite ill.  Mary and Martha knew whom to call on.  Certainly Jesus would heal their brother.  They sent out the dire message, “Lord, Your dear friend is very sick.” John 11:3 (NLT).  I would have expected Jesus to hightail back to Judea to cast the disease out of Lazarus.  But instead, Jesus delayed His return.

Jesus explained that this delay would result in His glory.  It would also be the reason many would believe that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah.

There was no question of Lazarus’ condition.  Not only had he died, but he had been in the tomb for four days.  So when Jesus called Lazarus back to life, there was no chance of it being a slight-of-hand move.  Only the loving Savior could breathe new life into the dead.

For my husband, what I had hoped would be a three-month battle turned into a three-year journey.  He explained, “It’s not the path we would have chosen for ourselves.  But in hindsight, we wouldn’t have had it any other way.” 

Knowing the depths of his agony, I was surprised to hear this perspective.   Although, I guess it makes perfect sense.  Through Jesus’ delay in rescuing and healing Ryan…

●      Our testimony has power.  Statistics said that his extended fight against off-the-chart depression, anxiety and OCD should have resulted in suicide.  But Jesus’ overwhelming love for Ryan was reminiscent of His undeniable love for Lazarus.  We pray that our story causes others to believe in this incomparable love of Jesus. (John 11:15)

●      It’s impossible to give anyone or anything the credit for healing Ryan besides Jesus.  Our turning point was when Ryan meditated solely on God’s love for him, not his love for God.  Healing comes through the true gospel of grace and truth.  All glory to God in Jesus’ Name! (John 11:4)

●      Just as He did with Mary and Martha, our Abba showered us with deep compassion and comfort through the darkest valleys.  He did this through friends, counselors, scripture and in beautiful, supernatural ways. (John 11:35, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Maybe you’re like us and you’ve entered a new season after a horrible storm.  If so, make a list of your praises.  Make sure to include the ways God comforted you.  Ask God for opportunities to share your story so others will believe and give Jesus glory.

Or maybe you’re still in darkness and you desperately need rescue.  Can you find it in yourself to look for the ways your Heavenly Daddy is comforting you right now?  Take a moment to thank Him for that intimacy. 

Oh Papa.  The storms of life are so gut-wrenching.  But You are always with us, comforting us each step of the way.  Use our dark times to draw us nearer to You.  Let Jesus receive the glory as You breathe new life into our hearts.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

© 2017 by Noelle Dey.  All rights reserved.

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Originally published Wednesday, 22 February 2017.