Mary made the same statement that Martha had made, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died”. The weeping of Mary, Martha and their friends clearly upset Jesus. So much so that Jesus began to cry. The crowd thought He was crying because Lazarus had died. Little did they realize that the death of Lazarus had nothing to do with His tears. Jesus was heartbroken because of the lack of understanding and faith displayed by these people including Mary and Martha. You can almost hear Jesus asking them the same question He asked His disciples.
17 Jesus answered, “You people have no faith, and your lives are all wrong. How long must I put up with you? How long must I continue to be patient with you? Bring the boy here.” –Matt. 17:17 (NCV)
We have to ask ourselves the question: How many times have we broken the heart of the one who loved us enough to die for us? Has our lack of faith and our disobedience caused a river of tears? But God has already forgotten all those sins and mistakes. Let each of us pledge to do the same and press forward with a renewed faith that brings gladness and joy to our Lord and Savior. It would bring joy to His heart if each of us truly “cast all our cares upon Him” and let Him carry us through every situation. His mercies are new every morning.
22 The Lord’s love never ends; his mercies never stop. 23 They are new every morning; Lord, your loyalty is great.–Lamentations 3:22-23 (NCV)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
God made each of us a little different from everyone else. These differences are not just physical, they continue through every part of us. Each of us has a different learning capacity and we react to things and situations differently. Some of us are much more vocal and enthusiastic in expressing our joy and excitement. Some of us see great things happen and we are awestruck and quiet in our observations while others may scream loudly or talk unceasingly trying to describe or explain what is happening. Praising God is necessary for Christians whether we do it quietly or with loud exclamations of joy and praise. We can become so overpowered by the presence of God that we fall to our knees and just weep. God understands it all and accepts it graciously. He made us different so that our praise to Him would be like listening to an orchestra play a great masterpiece. While that may be just noise to some people, others are thrilled and uplifted. So, however we choose to do it, let’s just praise God continually for all of His love, goodness, mercy and grace.
10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
After the work on the walls of Jerusalem had been completed and the gates were hung in place, Ezra gathered all the people together and took a census. Then he sent them all home. They reassembled in Jerusalem and asked Ezra to read to them all of the Book of the Laws of Moses. As Ezra and the scribes read the laws, the people wept remembering their disobedience. They realized how much God had forgiven them and how he had brought them safely back to Jerusalem. They had seen how God had provided everything they needed to rebuild the walls. Though the enemy came close shouting insults and discouragement, God had protected them while they finished the work. Ezra and the priests explained to the people that this was not a day for weeping but a day for rejoicing and celebration. There are times in our lives, when some things need to be rebuilt. When some unexpected event has shaken our faith, we need time to rest and heal. Perhaps a close friend has broken our trust or one of our spiritual leaders has fallen from grace. The enemy will come close whispering discouraging words in our hear. God will protect us through the storm and when the skies are clear, it will be a time for rejoicing and celebration for us just as it was for the Israelis in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.
1 Peter 1:3-6 (NLT)3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. 6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.
Because of God’s great mercy, He sent His Son to pay for our redemption. When we accept this fact, we also accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We are spiritually born again at that very moment. We have our salvation immediately, but we live with great expectation because this is a beginning, there is more to come. We have an inheritance that is kept for us in heaven. God’s Holy Spirit is the earnest payment for that inheritance. And using that portion of faith that God has given to each of us, God is protecting us by His Power until the process of salvation has been completed and revealed on the last day. We are saved by His resurrection power, we are kept by the power of His word and we will arrive at home by His power. In this world, we will be offended and have some trials. We should count it all blessing to be chosen to suffer with our Savior. But on that last day, there will be “joy unspeakable and full of glory”. Praise God in every situation. He inhabits the praises of His people and He is always here with us to carry us through. Salvation and joy, now and forevermore!!!