Summary: When life goes from bad to worse, and then from worse to impossible, we are tempted to ask "Where is God in the midst of all this?" Come and discover God's heart for the hurting and find the hope that is only found in Jesus!

Praising God Amidst the Impossible

John 11:1-45

Hospital and Care Home Service – September 25, 2012

There are times in life when things go from bad to worse in the blink of an eye; times when a bad situation suddenly becomes seemingly impossible. Perhaps your “impossible” has to do with the biopsy results that the doctor has called you into his office to tell you about. Perhaps your “impossible” takes the form of one of your children who has turned their back on everything you raised them to believe. Perhaps your “impossible” takes the form of someone close to you dying, or your marriage falling apart. At those times we’re tempted to ask, “Where is God in the midst of all this?”

To find the answer to that question let’s take a look at a passage of Scripture found in the 11th chapter of the Gospel of John. “Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 ….. 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” Now Lazarus hasn’t been feeling well. In fact as the days go by his condition is getting worse rather than better. The doctors are sent for – there’s nothing they can do – so they tell his sisters that they should prepare for the worst. Things are falling apart but they’ve not lost all hope. There is still a chance for Lazarus. Jesus is their friend and He’s healed the sick; surely Jesus can heal Lazarus and make him well again! So they send a messenger off to find Jesus and to tell Him what the deal is. But …

4 When He heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 Yet when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days. Now what kind of an act of love is that? Do you see what’s happening here? What had gone from bad to worse has suddenly gone from worse to impossible. Jesus isn’t coming. The messenger has the horrible job of returning to the sisters and saying, “I found Jesus, and I told Him what’s going on, but He isn’t coming today.” Imagine the questions and the pain those girls wrestled with when they heard the news. The Bible tells us that Jesus truly loved this family but it also tells us that despite that love – or maybe because of it - “yet” He let this situation go from bad to impossible. Can you think of a “yet” that Jesus has allowed in your life?

7 Then He said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” …

11 After He had said this, He went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought He meant natural sleep.

14 So then He told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Those are harsh words. “Lazarus is dead and I’m glad,” says Jesus. But let’s not lose sight of the reason why Jesus was glad, the reason why things went from bad to impossible. Jesus says it is so that they might believe.” (Verse 17 …)

“17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet Him, but Mary stayed at home. Here’s the situation. Lazarus has been in the tomb for four days. There is no doubt that this man is dead and there is no doubt that things have gone from bad to impossible. Mary won’t even go out to meet Jesus. She is hurt, maybe even bitter, that Jesus did not come to them in their time of need, and hasn’t in fact come until it seems to be too late. Martha feels the same way but takes a slightly different approach in venting her frustration. Verse 21 …

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” What is Martha really saying here? It’s what a lot of us have said when our situations have gone from bad to impossible, isn’t it? “Lord, if you really love me then how could you let these things happen to me? Do you hate me God? How could a loving God bring so much hurt and pain into my life?” And maybe you hear the echo of your own voice in Martha’s words. Verse 23 …

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