The other day while I was reading through the book of John, I got to the story of Lazarus’ death. The story talks about how Mary and Martha both came to Jesus saying essentially the same thing. Martha said, “Lord, if you had been there, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21) A few verses later, Mary spoke the same words to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been there, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:32)
I understand where they are coming from. In the losses I have experienced I have gone to God on a number of occasions and echoed the words of Martha and Mary in my own way, “Lord, if you where involved this would not have happened.” Its awful that I would say such a thing, but its the truth of how I felt in that moment.
After Mary spoke to Jesus, she started crying (v. 33). Jesus responds with love and compassion towards Mary. I don’t know if Jesus had been told by God yet or not to raise Lazarus, but he shows a lot of care for Mary. He doesn’t let her blaming effect his love for her. Verse 33 says that Jesus was, “deeply moved” and “greatly troubled.” Jesus was right there in Mary’s pain and hurt. He was involved.
Martha, on the other hand, had a very different attitude. She doesn’t stop speaking in verse 21. In verse 22 she continues, “But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Wow. She is in distress, her brother has just died, and she is trusting in God’s will. The faith that Martha shows!
Having the faith of Martha, or needing the care shown to Mary are both legitimate responses to our pain and hurt. I know both have been evident in my own loss. God is involved in both. God meets us where we are at to bring us to him. He is involved.