Skip to main content

Martha and I

Every time I read the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, I'm taken back by his exchange with Martha. I see in Martha's words my inevitable human inclination to not get God yet act like I've got him figured out.

It's what Martha says.  Jesus has finally showed up at the scene of his grieving friends' home where Lazarus has been 4 days dead.  Martha, the busy-in-the-kitchen sister, runs to Jesus not for comfort, not for help, but to protest.  "If you had been here my brother wouldn't have died!"  She accuses.  I can hear the anger and disappointment in her voice.  She believed Jesus was powerful enough to have healed her brother when he was sick, but she didn't believe there was a thing he could do now that her brother was dead.

She throws out a hail Mary, "But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask."  When I read the rest of the exchange she has with Jesus it's apparent that she doesn't think Jesus will be able to raise Lazarus from the dead.  So what does she mean by this?  Maybe she's just saying what she thinks she's figured out about God: God gives his Chosen One whatever He asks, but the Chosen One doesn't himself raise the dead.    She's declared what she thinks she's got figure out about God.

Jesus tells her that her brother will rise again and she quips back with more of her authoritative knowledge of God,  "Duh!  I know that!  I know he'll rise from the dead in the end when everyone else does!"  (My paraphrase).

Then Jesus, the only One who really knows God inside and out and who says with absolute authority the exact truth about God declares, "I am the resurrection and the life.  Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.  Everyone who believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this Martha?"

In my version: I know you think you have God down to a science Martha, but here's the truth.  Do you believe it?

Martha, Martha, Martha.  I'm just like you.  We're all just like you.  Even when face to face with the undeniable truth about God, even with Bible opened, hymns sung, prayers muttered, and orthodox church attended we still take what God has revealed about himself in Jesus, and in stubborn unbelief, hang our heads when faced with what we don't understand and can't do a thing about.  We quote in wrote what we know we're supposed to know and think we have a full handle on.  But we don't really believe a word of what we say we know.

"Yes, Lord," she told him.  "I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one has come into the world from God."

She didn't know a single thing she just said.  But she said it.  She was orthodox.  She knew the right answer.  And if she was in a debate with a person who declared what they knew about the gods she would have put them in their place with her authoritative declaration that there is One God and His Messiah would come and set them straight!  If only she really believed what she said.  If only she really knew who it was standing there in front of her.  But she really didn't.

I'm a Christian.  And if you need adjectives I'm an orthodox, Calvanistic, reformed Christian.  I believe there is one God and that He is Father, Son and Spirit.  I believe in the Christ, the only begotten son of the Living God.  I believe I'm made right with God simply and impossibly by my belief in Christ's death as the only propitiation that satisfies the wrath of God for my sins.  I believe that Christ rose from the dead on the third day and that the Spirit of the Living God dwells in me.  I believe one day I too will be raised from the dead and will live forever in abundant life where fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore are mine because I'll be in the presence of my Savior.  And beyond understanding, I believe that in that day, when I see Him, I'll be made like Him- sinless, an Image-of-God Bearer, a Redeemed One.  I believe right now I'm being transformed into that image and am being led by the same God through many tribulations as I follow the steps of my Savior.  And finally, I believe all this that I believe, I only believe, because God made me alive to Himself when I was dead as a doornail.  Even my belief is a gift from Him.

Now that's a loaded paragraph.  I claim to believe all this.  I say I know God to be these things.  But the reality is, like Martha, I claim a lot of things I really know nothing about.  This is not to say they are not true, but that the mountain of truth that they are is greater than my puny understanding.

Like Martha, my belief, my proclamation about God does not show my all encompassing knowledge, but rather, shows that an all-knowing God has rocked my world.  Like Martha.  And despite my unbelief in the things I claim I believe, He's still proving himself to be to me the resurrection and the life.



  1. I love this Sheila and I am with you. I am like Martha, like you- and I love that He is so merciful to us! How often we know the right answers yet don't believe. Lord help our unbelief.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

eyes on the Author- the every morning struggle to walk by faith

I don't wake up full of vision and motivation.  Actually, what motivates me most is the idea that my french press and single-origin coffee from Guatemala are just minutes away from awaking my senses with it's warm, toasty aroma.  And on those days when I get my stiff, puffy-eyed body out of bed and make my way to the cabinet to prep the press with my favorite coffee and find we're out, I feel great motivation to get dressed and drive to the local store so I can hurry up and get back home before too much time has passed and get my coffee going.

Basically, coffee motivates me to get up in the morning.

Mixed in the grogginess between eyes open and that first cup of coffee I remember who I am.

I am not my own.  I am a Christian.  The weight of meaning in that word falls on me like gravity on the fledgling attempts of a young eagle to fly every morning.

I feel myself falling.  Falling. Squawking out a cry, "Help!  Help Lord!  I am yours. Let me hear your loving kindness…

post anesthesia thoughts

(has nothing to do with the post, just a pretty pic i took a long time ago)
I'm not going to over think this post too much.  I had minor surgery today and am still feeling drunk on leftover anesthesia/fentanyl/percocet.  Consider yourself and the three other people reading this warned.
In the past few weeks I've been listening to podcasts from writers, reading articles about blogging and freelance writing, etc.  In one of those I was admonished to write something daily.  Be it a blog post, a journal entry, a poem... something.  Because writers don't just think about writing, they write.  I think my pastor said or wrote that once too.  It struck me then, and when I read this lady's article.  I am a writer.  Not a known writer.  Not the best writer.  But I enjoy writing and I just process life better when I'm writing.  But when I set out to write something, especially publicly, I sometimes step in the quicksand of self-analyzing and get stuck there.  And then I don&#…

An Unlikely 23 Years

Wedding Day- Sept.4, 1993
Connor's birthday- April 1, 2003
During our first separation and pregnancy with Ryland- November 2004
Seeking a new start in Arizona all together- October 2005
 Second separation March 2010
Still together on a desert trail- Spring 2015
Today has been a tough day, emotionally.

Twenty three years ago today I made a vow before God and about 100 family and friends to take James as my husband, to have and to hold from that day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, till death do us part.

Those are some serious promises.  Better, worse, richer and poorer, sickness and health have all been part of these 23 years.  Honestly, most of it has been hard.  We weren't a very likely match at 19 and 21.  He from the big city, me from a small town.  His dad a pharmacist, mine a log truck driver.  We met in a child development class, taking pre-reqs for nursing.  He hated it.  I loved it.  He had long hair and torn jeans and l…