“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” This was what both Martha and Mary said to Jesus when their brother Lazarus died.
Here’s been my personal spin of late on this story recorded in John 11. “Lord, if You had been here, my mother would not have suffered, and she would have died sooner. Lord, if You had been here, my family would not have had to go through this!”
My mother died November 12 after six long and painful years in a nursing home. (The national average for a nursing home stay is 1-2 years.) Questioning God’s delay is obviously a dead end, yet how does my soul attain a certain measure of peace amid its unrest pertaining to my mother’s lingering death?
God whispered His peace to my soul through a few well-spoken words of a Minnesota Viking defensive end.
Question posed to defensive end: “If you could have Thanksgiving dinner with anyone in history, who would it be?”
Defensive end: “Jesus. I’d just listen. I wouldn’t talk. I’d just listen.”
This 6-6, 270-pound athlete tells readers of the newspaper’s sports section that in the presence of the Lord Jesus he’d hold all questions and just listen. Away from the football field he’d let go of any defensive posture with God. Here’s a pro football player whose principal function is to deliver pressure on the gridiron, to rush and to aggressively tackle, but when it pertains to spiritual matters he sheds his posture of defense because it doesn’t serve him well in matters of the Lord. Instead, he chooses the stance of God-honoring submission.
Why then do I think it’s needful to do all the talking, ask all the questions, and make all the statements about life to God, even about how or when my mother dies? Piling up indictments against God, who alone is wise, is futile. Job 9:3 even says that if God asked me 1,000 questions, I couldn’t answer a single one anyway!
Old Testament Job understood this. A Minnesota Viking understands this. And now Lord, help me to leave the spiritual battlefield, end the defense, and just listen.
“I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.” Job 40:5 (New Living Translation)