The Truth is the Light
Rev. Dr. Charles R. Watkins, Jr.
John 11:21a, “Now Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if You had been here.’” Matthew 28:20, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
When Lazarus was ill, Martha and Mary said often, “If Jesus would only come.” They were afraid that death would come before Jesus would return. Eventually Lazarus died. The Bible says, “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. However, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was for two more days.” Some may conclude, “If Jesus really loved him, he would have been there.”
The truth of the matter is that love does not always do what we want or expect. God does not always do what we want or expect. Jesus loved Lazarus, Mary, and Martha; yet, the Bible reminds us that Jesus stayed away from them in the hour of their dire need. What may be the most difficult to understand is that because Jesus loved them, he delayed his arrival until Lazarus died. Jesus stayed away until Lazarus’s body was prepared for burial and put into the tomb. It sounds incredibly strange but it was, “Because Jesus loved them, he stayed away.”
God, in divine and infinite wisdom, sometimes delays to act or refuses to act as we desire. We rationalize, “He may not come when we want Him but He is always on time.” The truth is, for most of us, there is nothing more important than life. We may even expect God to preserve life at all cost. However, for God, death is just a transition and not the end.
There is something more precious than life and that is to be one with Christ and do the will of God. There is a power greater than death and Jesus Christ holds that power in his hands. Thus, Jesus Christ knows that the events which bring others to believe in him are more precious than preserving life. To do God’s will is more precious than life. To believe in Jesus Christ is to triumph over death. Further, to help others believe in the power of God in Jesus Christ is worth endangering our own life.
The Lord suffers with us. Therefore, no tragedy, pain, tears, or heartache can separate us from the love of God. We are challenged to trust in the Lord who comes to be with us in our pain. This is the same Lord who loves us so much that he gave himself for us and was humiliated for our sin, chastised for our impurities, judged for our crimes, and yet stands with outstretched arms saying, “Lo, I am with you always.” We are never alone. Our faithful Savior is with us even in our hour of sorrow.
The Rev. Dr. Charles R. Watkins, Jr. is the pastor of Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina (7th Episcopal District).