Worth It In The End

John 11:4, “But when Jesus heard this, He said, ‘This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.’

Trials. Troubles. Tribulations. You can even throw in temptation if you like. Think of it all as a tunnel. Ultimately, it’s a passage. From here to there. From old to new. From death to life. From what was to what will be. From the way things are to the way our God intended things to be. It’s all about movement. It’s all about motion. Yes, at times it will get very dark. Yes, at times you will feel like the walls are closing in on you. You will thinking you are going to suffocate. You will want to scream. You will want to surrender to despair and hopelessness. But don’t quit. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. The tunnel was never intended to be the final destination. You travel through it. You go beyond it. Even when you can’t see any light at the other end. You keep moving forward.

Lazarus was sick. So sick that his sisters felt the need to solicit Jesus’ help. Within a few days Lazarus would also be dead. Now, here’s the amazing thing to me. Jesus knew it was going to happen. He knew it before it had even actually happened. Jesus knew that within a few days the sisters would be filled with sorrow and grief. He knew their hearts would be broken, their world shattered over the loss of their brother. But Jesus also knew something else. He knew that Lazarus’ death was not the end. Lazarus’ death was a tunnel. One that was ultimately going to take a multitude of people to a much better place. The place of belief. The place of faith. The place of an unshakable hope in the faithfulness of Jesus’ every word and promise. If they had ever doubted His word, if they had ever questioned His claims to deity, all would vanish in the light of a rapidly approaching revelation.

All those involved saw only the darkness of Lazarus’ death. What come be more final than death? Surely, his last breath would mark the end? Or did it? Not from Jesus’ vantage point. If anything, Lazarus’ sickness and death were only the beginning. Yes, all those involved would feel and experience the full weight of personal loss. They would weep. They would cry. They would ask the difficult questions at the midnight hour. For Martha and Mary in particular, the tunnel was about to get very, very dark. But Jesus in His grace and mercy points to a light at the end of the tunnel. According to God’s purposes this present problem would not end in disaster. Rather, it would end in triumph and glory. Sickness and death would not have the final word. With one command Jesus would forever silence the voices of doubt and unbelief! And all those gathered together would see and believe that Jesus was indeed the Resurrection and the Life!

Adversity and the difficulties of life have a way of causing me to lose perspective, to lose my way spiritually. I begin to focus on the situation. I begin to isolate the event. I start maximizing the problem and minimizing God. The result? I often find myself needing to be reminded that all things serve God. Ephesians declares that He, “…works all things after the counsel of His will.” Romans states that He, “…causes all things to work together for good to those who love God,” God is the supreme power in all the universe. He is all-powerful. Nothing is beyond His ability. All things are subject to Him and in the end all things ultimately serve His greater purposes.

Maybe you find yourself lost in the tunnel of despair today? For you life has been hard. Life has been disappointing. Hope? Joy? Peace? Love? They all seem like some sad, sick fairy tale. Let me encourage you to look ahead. This is not the end. This is not your final destination. Not by a long shot. There is an end to your present tunnel. Even if you can’t see any light right now there is an end. God says it like this, “I know the plans that I have for you. Plans for good and not for harm, plans to give you a future and a hope (Jer 29:11).” Your tunnel isn’t going to turn out to be a dead-end. Hold fast to God. Let Him carry you when necessary. He is going to bring you through. He is going to bring you out.

Martha and Mary never again questioned God’s care or love. Whenever life got difficult or whenever life got hard all they had to do was look across the table. The tunnel of their brother’s death had been difficult to say the least but in the end it had all been worth it. Their dead brother was alive. God had been glorified. And His power over all things would never again be denied.