Andy Hollifield 7-16-17
John 11:21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
John 11:32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
This is kind of a strange topic but it is one that got me to thinking about the question. I have sung a song for years that is true in the end, but at times it isn’t. The song is “I’ve Never Been Disappointed In Him.” The truth of the matter is that there have been times that I have been. Don’t tune me out yet and let me explain. There have been events in all of our lives that the way God did things at the time was not what we wanted him to do. Now, down the road a little ways, those things have proven or will be proven, to be to our benefit. Romans 8:28 is a very familiar scripture that makes that very statement. It says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” All things, includes the bad things. They, at some point in time, wind up being to our benefit. I don’t always understand how but “the Lord hath done all things well” (Mark 7:37). We don’t always like how he does it but in the end, it is well.
There are some things in life that I just can’t understand. I will mention just a few of them. Probably the most prevalent in my mind is “why babies have to die.” Everyone else may be able to chalk that up to the way things are but I just can’t see the immediate good in that. Having lost a child due to my wife having a miscarriage, I still cannot make that make sense no matter how I try. If you think I wasn’t disappointed with how God handled that one, you better believe I was. I even told him I was not happy about it and even questioned why he let it happen. Keep in mind that I was raised up in a time when it was taught and preached that you never question God. It took a long time to get over that and realize that when we have questions, God wants us to ask him. Sometimes he answers right away and sometimes it takes years or he may never explain himself to us and he doesn’t have to. When it comes to the child I lost, he never explained it to this day. The only reason I can think is possible is that maybe that child was going to be born with a severe disability that we couldn’t have provided care for; and I don’t understand that either except that God works things for his glory and according to his purpose. If that was the case, he knew that it would kill us to have to put our child in a facility to get the care it needed. The other reason I can think of is that maybe that child wouldn’t have accepted the Lord at a young age or may have but then got back-slidden and caught up in the sins of the world and God knew that something like that would destroy us from the inside out. I don’t know that it was either of those but whatever the reason it was done according to his purpose and for his glory. I do know this though; the Friday that happened was the Friday before New Year. We had to wait till Tuesday for my wife to have the DNC done and you talk about an agonizing weekend, that was one. The Lord taught me a lesson that Sunday that I have never forgotten. Without looking back at my calendar from that year, I am not sure what church it was but I was scheduled to preach on Sunday morning. My wife asked if I was going to cancel and I said no because in about 9 or 10 years of ministry I had never cancelled an appointment. I was wondering and even prayed and asked God how in the world could I possibly preach with my heart ripped out. That Sunday morning, I not only preached a message but I lived it right there in the pulpit. I had to preach on “The Grace Of God.” I don’t remember all the scriptures and not much about the service but I do remember this; I experienced the grace of God like at no other time in my life. Even though my heart was breaking and bragging on the God that had just taken my baby from me was the last thing I was in the mood to do, I remember vividly that grace. That amazing grace that God poured out on me that day. Up till that day, I never really knew God could give that much grace.
There was also the time when my dad passed away. He was my best friend at the time and my rock and a godly man of great wisdom. So much so that when my wife knew something was weighing heavy on my mind, she would say “why don’t you call your dad?” I was also disappointed in the fact that such a good man had to die so young at only 63, yet there were men that were nothing but heathens in the way they lived, yet they lived to be old men. I still don’t understand that but God has lessons in everything he does if we just take the time to see them. The day my dad died, my brother and I sat on his front porch talking about stuff we got into and the times dad caught us and the times he didn’t. I never would have believed your heart could be that broken and you could find so much joy and laughter as we did that day. Again, just the amazing grace of God.
I have not left our scripture but I gave those stories to help you see where Mary and Martha both were. If you look at it, the first thing they done was to blame Jesus because they had sent for him before Lazarus died and he didn’t get there in time. Not only were they sick with grief over losing their brother but they were also disappointed because they felt like Jesus had let them down. Little did they know how that their sorrow would soon be turned to joy when Jesus called Lazarus out of the grave.
Folks there are none of us that are super human or super spiritual and we are all subject to finding ourselves disappointed at times with how God does something. In James 1:5 the bible says, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” He don’t always give us the answers or an explanation, but if we just ask he will give us wisdom to know how to get through whatever we are facing. He treats us as a kind , compassionate, father treats his scared or hurt child. Just remember; just because we may not understand or even like it, it still works for our good and his grace will always be more than sufficient. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!
Andy Hollifield 7-16-17