Daily Reflection – 7/29/19
And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”(John 11: 19-27)
Why do bad things happen to good people? Of all the questions that can shake our faith, this one strikes hardest. We know from scripture that God is love, who promises justice and mercy to His children. Yet every single one of us can name one or more family members or friends on whom profound misfortune has descended at some point despite their obvious goodness and lack of malice. How can a loving God be possible if these good people suffer and mourn even more than the rest of us?
In today’s Gospel, we see that Jesus is far from glad at the suffering of his friends in Bethany. Mary and Martha mourn for Lazarus, and both offer a mild rebuke in their grief: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Still, both Mary and Martha express their faith in Jesus in their grief. Martha tells Jesus that she understands that Lazarus will rise on the last day, and testifies to His true nature as the Messiah. Jesus becomes visibly “perturbed and troubled,” and then weeps at the sight of the mourning friends and family of His friend.
This is not a distant and imperious God; this passage reveals God as personal as friends and family. Jesus weeps for us in our mourning, in our fallen state and fallen world. After He weeps, Jesus calls Lazarus out of the tomb as His last miracle before coming to Jerusalem, a portent of what will come for all of us who believe — when weeping and mourning will cease, and we come to everlasting life with the Lord.
We may not get a complete answer as to why bad thing happen to good people, but Paul’s letter to the Romans suggests that the question itself is irrelevant. “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God,” he writes, “but you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.” We are called to live life in the spirit, rather than the flesh.
As children of God, we must also weep at suffering and mourning, and do what we can to ease it, especially when it seems most senseless. But we can persevere in faith by living in the spirit, knowing that this world will eventually pass for another, and put our trust in the Lord to raise us to true joy in it.
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus, you are the Resurrection and the Life. Strengthen my faith and hope in your promises that I may radiate the joy of the Gospel to others.
The gospel today reminded me of some of the most important truths of our faith. Being a Christian does not mean that we will never go through any storms. Whenever situations enter our life that are bigger than our capacity to handle, we should take it to the Lord in prayer. Whenever we pray, remember that we are not sending breaking news to God. He knows everything that has and will ever happen to us.
Whatever He permits to enter our lives, He has purpose wrapped up in. We need to hold on to that belief. It may be painful, it may not be what we would want it to be, but there is a reason and, one day, we will know it. For the moment, we need to trust and believe.