Anxious Believers

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;  and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.”  When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.  Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him.  When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Jesus wept.

  • John 11:21-35

“Martha is an excellent example of a class of anxious believers.  They do truly believe but not with such confidence as to lay aside their cares.  They do not distrust the Lord or question the truth of what he says, yet they wonder, ‘How will this thing be?’  So they miss out on most of the present comfort the Lord would minister to their hearts if they received his word more simply.  How? And Why? Questions belong to the Lord.  It is his business to arrange matters so as to fulfill his own promises.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes

Although anxiety is running amok these days over the coronavirus, or whatever you prefer to call it, this post examines Jesus saying that He is the resurrection and the life, with my usual detours. But, I find the fact that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life as great comfort in times like these.

A few days ago, we helped Linus, of Peanuts fame.  He could not recite his assigned Scripture without knowing the Who, Where, and Why.  Now Spurgeon tells us that those questions belong to God.  Is that where blind faith comes in?

Blind faith, at least the term, has been given a bad name lately.  I think it comes from the need to answer the openly antagonistic, angry atheists and agnostics.  They demand concrete proof.  Their beliefs are a house of cards, but they risk that house crashing down to take a hammer and chip away at the firm foundation found in God.

Maybe our response to such anger should follow the response that Jesus gave when the Pharisees taunted Him for a sign.  “He answered, ‘A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah’” (Matthew 12:39).  But maybe we should study the apologetics more and have a clear understanding about the scientific proof that shatters their beliefs and points to the Bible as being trustworthy.

I’m reading a book now, What the Bible is All About for Young Explorers, edited by Frances Blankenbaker, and based on a book by Dr. Henrietta Mears.  Nearly every chapter in the book (roughly a chapter for each book of the Bible or a group of small books) ends with “Discoveries from the Past” to tie archaeological digs and other discoveries to the Scripture.

It is important to know that the Bible is trustworthy.  It is important to be able to defend your faith.  But it is equally important to realize that few, if any, have ever been brought to the Lord by arguing.  And even more important, at some point along the road of life, in our journey of faith, we’ll have to take a step forward when we do not see the path ahead.  We have Jesus in our hearts.  We have the Holy Spirit guiding us.  True believers need nothing more.  But that next step is into darkness.  You could say that next step is taken in ‘blind faith.’  It’s not ‘blind’ for we have God guiding us, but we have no earthly proof where that step takes us.

Let’s not denigrate the ‘blind faith’ even when we prepare our Apology.  We will all take that step at death, even seeing the light in front of us.  And many of us who are bold enough to venture into the darkness of this world will have those blind steps often in life.

Martha was asked to take one of those steps.  What was going through her mind?  Did she remember all the times that Mary sat at the Savior’s feet to listen while she prepared the next meal?  Is that why she went to Mary, just to have Mary run to Jesus and say the same thing Martha had said?  Here was a family that Jesus loved, and they were confused by His words.

Would not anyone be confused when Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life”?

Jesus proved it with Lazarus by raising him from the dead, days after death.  Those around Jesus were worried about the smell of decay.  With our 20:20 hindsight, we know that Jesus would soon prove it again by rising from the dead, the ‘sign of Jonah’.

Are we like Martha?  We run through life, busy.  If we keep busy, we have no time for those silly questions that only God can answer.  But are the questions silly, if God has the answers?  Those questions belong to God, but God wants to share those answers with us.  Some will be answered as we seek God and seek to be more like Jesus.

Believers, don’t be anxious.  God has the answers for our questions.

And since Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, all those questions will be answered when we meet face-to-face.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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