Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Lessons for Married Life

Read John Chapter 11

As many of you know who read our blog, Melissa and I are in the midst of fertility treatments. We lost a pregnancy in the fall and since then have had not had another success. We've begun the adoption process as well. It's been easy to get frustrated at God and we sometimes ask where He is while we go through all this. In light of Easter, I wanted to take a few minutes to relate some things I have been learning concerning the resurrection of Christ in connection to difficult times. (And all marriages will face difficult times of some sort.)

Over the last couple of months, the story of Lazarus from John 11 has taken on new meaning to me as I struggle with unanswered questions and difficult emotions.

I grew up in the church and have heard the story of Lazarus raised from the dead many times.  Not once have I ever caught the significance of verses 5-6.  Jesus had just learned that his good friend Lazarus was dying, and this is what he does:

"Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was."

Jesus loved...so he stayed where he was. 

Really??  Because Jesus stayed, Lazarus died.

Jesus had the power to heal him and had, in fact, healed numerous other people, but instead Jesus stayed put and Lazarus died. The passage explains that this was because Jesus loved Lazarus and his family? That doesn't seem like love, it just seems mean! Why would God allow this?

When we are wrestling with suffering and pain, we often ask "why"? A loving God wouldn't do this to us! However, later in the passage Jesus goes to see Martha and Mary (the sister's of Lazarus) and the Bible says that he wept.

Jesus wept.

I have heard two different explanations for Jesus' tears and I think both might be true.

When Jesus finally arrives in Bethany, he sees the hurt of his friend's family and breaks down. I think this is the way Jesus looks at all our pain. In the midst of our tears, Jesus hurts with us. He feels the same pain we do...we are not alone. 

At the same time, the story of Lazarus does not end in death and pain. Instead, it ends with new life, resurrection and redemption (as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead). All too often, we forget this about Jesus as we face pain and suffering. We stay focused on our present suffering and echo Mary's words, "If you were only here!!!" Meanwhile, Jesus knows that our entire situation will be redeemed and turned into good.

The pain isn't easy... I want to be a dad! But for some reason, it's not the right time yet. And in reality, which can be hard to fully understand, that reason is because God loves Melissa and I. He knows the plan and he wants the best for us.

This hope in redemption and a relationship with a God who hurts with humanity, is the reason that  Easter is a time for celebration. Resurrection provides a hope and encouragement that can't be found anywhere else.

Jake

1 comment:

  1. such a blessing for you to share this. thank you! May god guide you through the process.

    ReplyDelete

Our goal of this blog is to share stories (both good and bad), thoughts and insights about our marriage and we would love for you to jump into the conversation.

The goal is to provide three things:
1) HOPE for struggling couples that they are not alone.
2) GROWTH in our marriages and our understanding of marriage.
3) ENCOURAGEMENT to keep loving your spouse unconditionally.