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Summary: I wish I could stand here today and tell you that if you serve the Lord you want ever have any problems in your life; I wish I could tell you that if you develop a close relationship with the Lord that you will always be in control of the circumstances th

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TEXT: John 11:1-44

One of the first things that I notice about this story is the relationship between this family and Jesus. It wasn’t a strained relationship or an odd one but it was one of closeness and intimacy. They didn’t just have a casual acquaintance but a close encounter acquaintance. There was a close bond between Jesus and this family.

I wish I could stand here today and tell you that if you serve the Lord you want ever have any problems in your life; I wish I could tell you that if you develop a close relationship with the Lord that you will always be in control of the circumstances that come into your life; I wish I could tell you that if you develop and intimate relationship with the Lord that everything in your life will always go as planned. But I can’t.

I have been serving the Lord for some 44 years and I can tell you that everything in my life has not always gone according to plan or at least not according to the way I had planned things out. Things have happened that I have had no control over at all. Circumstances have taken place in my life that have totally altered the direction I was going in.

You see we are people who like to be in control; we are people that like everything to go according to the way we have planned it out and when it doesn’t we get all frustrated and upset and don’t know what to do and many times the thing we want to do is blame it on the Lord. “Lord if you had been here this wouldn’t have happened”; “Lord we have such a close relationship why didn’t you do something about this”; “Lord we have been friends so long now why didn’t you perform a miracle in this circumstance.”

I am thinking of a man and wife who had served the Lord all of their lives, both on the brink of retirement; both getting things in order to retire and enjoy life; both who had an intimate relationship with the Lord and then all of a sudden tragedy happens. The wife is on the way home from work and pulls out in front of another car and is killed instantly. Things didn’t work out as they had planned.

I’m thinking of a couple who loves the Lord with all their heart and desperately want a child. The lady becomes pregnant and the excitement builds only to one day begin to experience pain and has a miscarriage. Their hopes and dreams are gone for the moment. All their dreams and all their plans for a child have now vanished.

I’m thinking of a man and woman of God who are serving in the ministry, pastoring a church with dreams of seeing that church grow. All of a sudden that minister comes home only to have his wife tell him that she doesn’t want to be a preacher’s wife any longer and she is leaving him. But that’s not the way we planned it. Now his dreams and hopes are crushed and he is left wondering where is God when I need him.

There are some here today who love the Lord with all of your hearts, who have an intimate relationship with the Lord, who have great plans for life but you have had things happen and those things or circumstances have altered your plans; things have not gone according to plan.

I wish I could tell you why things don’t always go according to the plans we have made. I wish I could tell you why circumstances happen in our lives that we have no control over. I wish I could tell you why at times it seems like the Lord is so far away and it seems that He doesn’t care. I wish I could tell you why as a Christian you have to experience all the things you are going through at the moment but I can’t. But based on this story there are some things I can tell you.

I believe Lazarus had many plans for the future. I don’t know what business he was in but I’m sure he had plans on being successful in whatever it was. I don’t read that he was married but I am sure he had plans to marry and have a family. But all of a sudden something happens in his life that totally rocks his world and changes all he had planned.

So let me share some things I do know from this story that hopefully will help us deal with the unfortunate circumstances of life:

1. God Loves You (1-3, 5)

The circumstances were bad – Lazarus was dead. Mary and Martha were at their wits end; they were distressed. Because of their circumstances they begin to question Jesus. No matter how bad it is or what you are going through you can be assured that God loves you.

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