I have heard or read the story of Lazarus a lot lately. It is one I know well, one that I could tell you by heart. Yet, as He so often does, God has been revealing something new to me through this passage of Scripture.
And can we just take a moment to acknowledge the sheer amazingness of that? We can read the same Bible, the same stories, the same verses for our entire lives, and He will continue to teach us new things through them. His Word never gets old, friends. How awesome is that?!
And the story of Lazarus is no different. I have learned about the miracle it was that he was raised from the dead. I have learned that Jesus feels our grief (He wept). I have learned that since we are no longer dead in sin, we need to “take off our grave clothes” and start living, like Jesus told Lazarus to do once he was made alive. And yet, there is still more truth for me to find in this story. And this time it is from the verses focused on Lazarus’ infamous sisters, Mary and Martha. Read these verses with me about their words to Jesus:
“When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:20-21)
“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.” (John 11:32)
Both of these women had a strong faith. They both fully believed that Jesus was the Son of God. And their belief went to the next level – they even both obviously believed that He had power to heal. They each said, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” This clearly shows they believed that Jesus possessed the power to perform the miracle of healing. They both believed that He could have made their sick brother well again. But that’s where their belief stopped. They did not even think to believe that He had the power to raise Lazarus from the dead. Their belief did not make it to the next level. It stopped short.
And how often is this true of us as well? How often does our faith, our belief in what Jesus can do, have levels? In my opinion, it is quite often. We believe Jesus has power to do certain things, but not others.
We believe He has power to provide for us when we are working a “normal” 9 to 5 office job, but we fear to leave that “normal” job to do something else He is calling us to do. Our fear shows that we don’t believe He has the power to provide for us no matter what.
We believe He has the power to heal our body of a physical disease. We believe He has the power to heal us of cancer. But that anxiety and depression? Oh no, we’re always going to have those “frienemies” (friends/enemies) along for the ride. Our faith does not go to the next level of believing He has the power to heal us of those mental battles we have struggled with for our entire life.
We believe He has the power to help us reconcile with a friend who said some really hurtful things about us. But reconciling with that family member we have had a broken relationship with for years? No, we don’t believe that’s ever gonna happen.
We believe and have faith in Him when He calls our family to move to another city for a new, amazing job opportunity. But do we believe Him when He calls us to another country to serve Him? What about when it’s in a dangerous area? Or does our belief stop at that level?
Friends, I am just as guilty as the next well-meaning believer of doing this. But this was a reminder from Him that He doesn’t want our belief to have levels. He wants us to have unlimited, unhindered, completely radical and crazy belief that He has the power to do anything and everything He wants to do in our lives and in the world. So let’s let our fear go. Let’s let our wanting to be normal go. Let’s let our logic go. And instead, let’s jump full force into belief in Jesus’ unlimited power. If we can do this, I fully believe He is going to blow us away with the amazing things He wants to do in our lives!
Challenge: What areas of life have you been limiting your belief? Acknowledge the unbelief you have been having, and then begin praying for the big, crazy, “impossible” thing that you need to begin believing God for. And let us know! We want to know in what areas your belief has “levels” so that 1) we can encourage you that chances are you’re not alone, and 2) so that we can pray for you!