Monday, November 23, 2015

Hope in the Midnight Hour

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. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. - John 11:32-35

When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. - John 19:26-27

The above passages are two occasions where we see Jesus grieving for those who were suffering.  In the first passage, He wept because of the pain that Mary and Martha were going through at the loss of their brother, Lazarus.  In the second passage, Jesus had compassion for his weeping mother and dear friend, John, who could only stare in horror at the sight before them.  In both instances, Jesus was filled with sorrow and longed to take away the hurt.  However, He could see what the sufferers couldn't--the end result.

In the story of Lazarus, Jesus purposefully delayed His coming.  He could have gone as soon as He received word that Lazarus was ill.  Since He knows all things, He could have arrived before that.  But He waited.  Why?  Well, He answers that at the tomb of His dear friend. Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 11:41-42)  Healing the sick is one thing; raising the dead is quite another.  Jesus waited so that the people would believe, and that's exactly what happened.  Though it broke His heart to see the tears of Mary and Martha, He understood that it would all be worth it in the end.  He understood His delay.  He understood the greater miracle that would take place.

The same thing happened at the cross.  Jesus could have come down from the cross and ended Mary and John's suffering right then.  He could have personally wiped the tears from His mother's eyes and held her in His strong arms.  But He knew that the cost of alleviating their temporary suffering was an eternity of suffering in Hell.  He knew what had to be done even though it caused His mother and friend great grief.  I'm sure He longed to end their sorrow, but He could also see beyond the midnight hour.

Dear friend, I realize that all of us are going through something.  For some, it is one huge trial.  For others, it's like the death by a thousand cuts where we can't recover from one injury before encountering another blow.  Whatever the case may be, I am here to tell you that there is hope in this midnight hour.  Your suffering has a purpose, and there is a greater good beyond this dark time.  God does not delight in our suffering.  In fact, He hurts when we hurt.  However, He loves us enough to allow us to go through certain suffering in order to bring about something better than we could ever imagine.

Hang in there, and don't quit fighting the good fight.  God isn't late, nor has He forgotten about your need.  He is working all things for our good.  Just keep in mind that a little suffering may be the pathway that leads to treasures unseen.

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