Mary and Martha watched Lazarus become increasingly sick. They knew the healing power of Jesus and had sent for His help, but by the time Jesus arrived Lazarus had died. The sisters were filled with sorrow and cried out; "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died" (John 11:21,32). At this, Jesus was troubled and compassionately wept with those who had gathered (John 11:35).
Jesus genuinely cared about the sorrow and pain of those who knew and loved Lazarus; but remember, Jesus had intentionally allowed Lazarus to die; "when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days" (John 11:6). And if Jesus would have really wanted to heal Lazarus, He wouldn't have even needed to be near. When He had healed the royal official's son (who was in a bed twenty miles away), He did so by simply speaking a word: "You may go. Your son will live"
Yes, Jesus allowed Lazarus to die. For in God's all-knowing plan, the need to strengthen the faith of those around Lazarus was more important than healing his illness.
"Then Jesus said, 'Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?'"
God had prepared a miracle which would cause many others to believe and bring glory and honor to His name: "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me...I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that You sent Me" (John 11:41,42). Jesus then proceeded to raise Lazarus from the dead! "Lazarus, come out!"
We've all been in bad situations which have caused us to cry out and wonder why God didn't just make things "right." Why didn't He remove the enemy, restore our finances, or take away the hurt? And how many times have we become burdened by the apparent injustice in the world; "I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked...surely in vain have I kept my heart pure" (Psalm 73:3,13).
God has the ability to "fix" every situation, but His plan is so much more. His plan is for us to know Him and His glory; to trust Him and grow while being strengthened through every trial; to continue to be "conformed to the likeness of His Son" (Romans 8:29). His plan is to prepare us for an eternity in His presence.
We must trust God to refine and strengthen our faith - even if by fire! No matter what trials we face, we must trust that "in all things God works for the good of those who love Him" (Romans 8:28). And we must continue to trust He is at work in our lives (even right now) to accomplish a true and eternal healing.