Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” John 11:1-4
Too often we look at things like serious illnesses or someone’s death as bad things. I will be the first to admit that when someone close to me dies or has a serious illness I feel bad and it takes every ounce of faith to see any good. And when I am ill, I am usually too concerned with getting better to see how any good can come of it.
However, we have already seen how a man born blind when he was healed by Jesus brought glory to God. Over the next few days we will see how one man’s death also brought glory to God and showed the people that Jesus was who He said He was.
That was way back then, what about today? Can someone’s illness or death today bring glory to God? The short answer is yes, of course it can. How believers face illness and their own deaths is a testament to God. When we look at our death not as an ending but a beginning we show those around us that there is hope beyond this all too short earthly life. When we put or confidence in God to get us through an illness we also show those around us how God gives us strength and how He still heals.
In my own experience I was able to share with others how God showed me how to depend on Him when I was going through the roughest time with my ulcerative colitis. He used this illness to strip away my pride and depend on Him to get me through each day. And when my colitis went into remission I was able to give Him the glory. But what if my colitis had not gone into remission? What is it had lead to death? My grandfather dies from complications of ulcerative colitis so could I.
Had I died, would that have reduced the glory God should have received? Not one bit. Any healing here in this life is temporary. We will get sick again and we will eventually die. Lazarus eventually died even after Jesus raised him. So too will we. But this earthly death leads to a healing that will never end. Once we are with Him we will never suffer illness again. We will never taste death again. We will be healed for all eternity.
When my dad was ill with lung cancer that had spread into his lymph nodes I prayed for healing. I did not want my dad to die. Yet I knew that while God could have healed dad from the cancer it was only temporary. God answered my prayers for healing, not how I wanted but with a permanent healing. I know my dad will never be sick again.
Sometimes we see God’s glory but what he does for us here, this is the easy part. But we will always see God’s glory in what he has planned for us for all eternity. His glory shines through everything.
Have a blessed day,