Journal John 11 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: (The following is about raising Lazarus)
Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.
Bethany was near Jerusalem (about two miles off) and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. So, when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him—but Mary remained seated in the house.
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here [she said perhaps plaintively] my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said, “I AM the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. [Mary,] do you believe this?” John 11:17-26
Observation: Isn’t it easy to escape into the writ of the Word and totally miss the meaning of the Word?
Analysis: I have often wondered about myself how I can quote and reference scripture in unbelief.
I think that Martha does this. Looking at the discourse between Jesus and Martha:
“If you would have been here, he wouldn’t have died!” Martha may have been in tears, but the anger and anguish is unmistakable. “Lazarus would not have died. Doesn’t that mean anything to you?” Then she recovers to a point and says, “But I know that God would do anything you ask of Him.” Her confession becomes dutiful and orthodox.
I can do this as well. I can say all the right things and yet my heart is bouncing all over the place with parallel complaint and attempted restraint; I complain of the circumstance and realize my heart needs to be reeled in, not in authenticity but in outward orthodoxy.
Jesus says, “Lazarus will rise again.” Here my imagination runs a little for I can “see” Martha rolling her eyes, “Yes, yes, I know: Resurrection, last day, and all that…” while still churning on the inside saying, “But he didn’t have to die if you would have just been here on time…”
Jesus: “Martha, I am the resurrection and the life. Here’s my question to you, do you believe that? Are you totally convinced? Do you embrace that over all your senses and experiences?”
Isn’t that always the question I need to answer and be accountable for? Easy for me to spit out scripture references, cherry-picked, eye-candy verses, theological principles and the like and yet be a believer wallowing in functional unbelief.
Hammer point: Is the stuff that rolls out of my mouth really the stuff I believe? Accountable belief? Matt 12:24 says, “For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Mouth equals heart; it can be just as simple as that.
Prayer: Lord, writing like this is therapeutic. It allows me to confess to You what I think is going on in my heart. Help me, O Lord, help me navigate through these rough waters that are causing me in some way to be unstable. AMEN.