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When God Doesn't Show Up

Published 2/12/20

Read John 11:21-22

"Martha said to Jesus, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.'"


Have you ever felt that God just wasn't showing up--no matter how often you prayed? How did you react? (Please explain.)

For days Martha had labored over her brother's sickbed, wringing her hands in worry and watching at the window. Surely Jesus got the message. Nothing could prevent Him from coming. But their beloved Teacher didn't show up. And nothing they did seemed to help. No amount of hot chicken soup or medicinal herbs revived Lazarus.

Finally, the two sisters watched as the color drained from their brother's face and his life dissipated before their eyes, his body growing cold and stiff. Martha and Mary collapsed in a flood of tears. Added to their grief were the painful questions, "Why didn't our friend Jesus come? This would have all been different if He'd been here! It would only have taken a word, a touch, and Lazarus would have recovered. Didn't He care enough to walk the two miles from Jerusalem to help us?"

The sisters didn't have the big picture. They didn't know that when Jesus got the message, He said, "Lazarus's sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this" (John 11:4 NLT).

When Jesus finally headed for Bethany, Lazarus had been dead four days. Martha raced out to meet Him while her sister stayed at home weeping. As usual, Martha didn't mince words. Some might say she was bold or arrogant to approach the Savior, but I have to say a few words in this woman's behalf.

First, she asked. She didn't hesitate to send an S.O.S. message to Jesus telling Him she needed His help.

Second, she was honest. When He didn't come in time, she candidly declared, "Master, if you'd been here, my brother wouldn't have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you" (John 11:21-22 MSG).

Martha didn't yet know that the One standing before her had the power to raise her brother from the dead. Just as most of those who walked and talked with Christ, she didn't fully understand who He was. Yet she had an irrepressible faith and confidence in her Lord. She didn't run from Him when devastated over the loss of her brother--she ran toward Him. In fact, she caught up with Him on the road before He even entered the village.


Lord Jesus, help me to trust that You always show up--even when I can't sense Your presence. Help me to draw close to You during times of trouble. Amen.

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