John 11:1-7 (NKJV)
1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, �Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.� 4 When Jesus heard that, He said, �This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.� 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. 7 Then after this He said to the disciples, �Let us go to Judea again.�

Jesus was friends to Mary, Martha and Lazarus. It says in the verses about that Jesus loved them. Jesus however delayed in going to Lazarus because he had other purposes. Jesus said, �This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.� Jesus knew Lazarus was sick, but He waited to go so that God would be glorified through all of the works of Jesus.



In his book Unspeakable, Os Guinness tells the story about a well-known Christian leader whose son had been killed in a cycling accident. Although the leader was devastated, somehow he managed to suppress his grief, even preaching eloquently at his son's funeral. His display of hope in the midst of tragedy earned him the admiration of many.

But a few weeks after the funeral, the man invited Guinness and a few friends to his home. According to Guinness, this man spoke and even screamed "not with the hope of a preacher but with the hurt of the father�pained and furious at God, dark and bilious in his blasphemy." In his agony, he blamed God for his son's death.

Rather than rebuke him, one of Guinness's friends gently reminded the enraged father of the story of Jesus at Lazarus' tomb. On three occasions in that story, Jesus expressed anger, and even furious indignation, in the presence of death. When Jesus came to earth, he became a human being just like us, feeling the abnormality of our suffering. In Jesus' humanity we see God's perspective of our pain: the beautiful world God created is now broken and in ruins. Jesus will heal this broken world and our broken lives, but first, he came to earth in order to identify with our anguish.

Guinness concludes that when we understand Jesus' humanity, it frees us to face the world's brokenness just as Jesus did. Like Jesus, we must never accuse God of wrongdoing or blaspheme God, but like Jesus, we are "free to feel what it is human to feel: sorrow at what is heartbreaking, shock at what is shattering, and outrage at what is flagrantly out of joint � . To pretend otherwise is to be too pious by half, and harder on ourselves than Jesus himself was." [Os Guinness, Unspeakable (HarperSanFrancisco, 2005), pp. 144-145]


The afflictions of those who belong to Christ are designed for the glory of God that he may pour out grace and mercy. We may not understand why things happen, but we can be assured they are for the greater glory of a kingdom in which one day we will take part. Let us give thanks and praise to Christ who lived to know our pain that we may live to know His glory.