When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” John 11:4 (NIV)
Is God big enough to set the time we each have to walk this earth? We know our limitations. It may take an effort to swallow our pride and admit it. There will be some who are never prepared to go that far. But the truth remains. We do not set the limit on our allotted days. We could imagine that we do. We could eat healthy foods or never smoke. But it will only reduce some of our risks. It cannot keep us from accidents or from growing old. If we think about it, we are all terminally ill. We are all in some way preparing to die. Some may have only months or days left. Others may have many long years still to come. But part of living is dying. We are mortal. We could take this news as bad news and grumpily go back about our business. Or we could choose to look up from this world where we live. God tells us that He lovingly formed us and saved us. He also says He has more in store for us. Do His words bring us hope?
Right in the middle of all this sad news and bleak endings, Jesus tells us that this sickness will not end in death. How on earth can He make such a claim? He is only talking about the case of His old friend Lazarus, right? Or was He? Lazarus died. Jesus calls it sleep. We will die too. Or will we just fall asleep? Where is our Saviour leading us with His words? Do we need to listen to another mortal to have them tell us? Do we need to find another brainy theologian to tell us what they have uncovered on the issue? Or could we embrace the testimony of the Son of God? Do we need to be the more studied or more informed? Or should we try to know the One Person Who might actually have been there to tell us of the land of Forever? Should we share our thoughts and gain encouragement from the agreement of our fellow students? Or could we pull our chairs in closer to the one Teacher would know this subject?
Our terminal illness will get the better of us. Call it what you will. Call it sin. Call it human life. But in the end we will die. However, our Saviour repeatedly directs our attention to a future beyond. From the miracles He performed and authority He demonstrated while He was here amongst us, do we think He knows what He is talking about? Best of all, He gives us the reason He gives such a beautiful promise. He tells us why God will provide us with hope. He says it is to bring glory to God! It will show us how wonderful He is! It will peel back forever this cloud of unknowing that hides Him from us! We will finally see and know that He is as grand as He has been telling us all throughout the history of our race! He wants to show us how wonderful and loving His Son Is! He was willing to come to us and sacrifice His own life on a cross to make this reunion possible! Does this give us hope today that this sickness will not end in death?
Dear Jesus, thank You! Thank You for coming to teach us of God´s intentions for us! Thank You for Your sacrifice! Thank You for raising not only Yourself from the grave, but others like us! From Your act of selflessness we can put our trust in You! We can see You will teach us what we need to know! But for now, please let us edge close to You! Let us set our hopes and our hearts on a future with You! Lift our spirits to know that our sickness does not have to end in death!