21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
To give some context, Martha’s brother Lazarus just died of a sickness and Jesus was not present to heal, despite Martha and her sister’s sending for Jesus to come. Things are bad, people are grieving, and likely asking why Jesus did not come in time since it seemed like he was not too far away and He had deep affection for the family. Now Jesus has started making his way to the village of Lazarus, Martha and Mary (sister), and Martha has gone out to meet him.
(Some background to Martha: From an earlier passage Luke 10:38-42, she seems to be an immature Christ-follower and is overly caught up with the physical life. Mary was not doing her share of the chores and gone to “play” (listen to Jesus teach), Martha complained to Jesus, essentially saying, “Don’t you see this unfair/wrong thing has happened and you should right this situation by telling her to help me?” only to be told she (Martha) has the wrong priorities and needs to learn from Mary.)
In today’s verse, it looks like Martha has matured a bit since. It seems like she’s basically saying something like, “Things are pretty awful but I know you can do all things, and you know this is what I want you to do…” and then she does the ‘right Christian thing’ and add “…but your will be done.” Sounds like what many of us growing Christians say to God too, and hope deep in our hearts – regardless of whether we say it out loud – that He will do what we asked according to the execution approach we asked for.
But in fact, Martha has grown in her faith in God significantly. She acknowledges Jesus could have saved her brother, and then she trusts Jesus to choose what to God on her behalf. There is no ask in her statement, she has yielded to Jesus the right to suggest the content of her request. This is materially different from indicating a preference for what we would like to happen, and then saying “Oh God, but your will be done.”
The point here is not that we should not have preferences – Jesus did too when He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before he was arrested. Rather, the first point is, can we absolutely trust God to pick the right path for us, if we do not get a say? Second, whatever that path is, we will fully commit with our best efforts with what God has chosen? To do that, we would have to be convinced that He is sovereign over everything and everybody, that He loves us and wants the best for us.
Yet that is exactly what God has done. He proved He has authority over everyone and everything when He died, emerged alive and victorious over Death, the biggest enemy in the universe. He proved He loves us and wants the best for us when He came as Jesus to this earth, suffered everything He did so that we can be reconciled to God. He is worthy of our trust, but do we trust Him?
(Tomorrow, we will continue looking at this incident to see how it evolves, so stay tuned.)
Thoughts for the day
- If you are not a Christ-follower, knowing what He has done for you, will you trust Jesus with your life?
- If you have trusted Him with your eternal destiny, what holds you back from trust Him with everything else, which really are smaller and lesser things than your eternal fate?
- What do you ask of God during our tough times? If and when you pray “Your will be done,” what do you really mean?
Think of another person in your life who needs God to move in their situation. Ask for God to be at work. Approach the Lord of all with boldness today, knowing that he delights in you, and those you love.