Tonight I planned to write a post on a passage of Scripture we read today in family devotions...and I had a niggling that I might have written on it years ago. Sure enough, I did. So, I figured there was no need to write on it again...but my heart's still echoing the same thoughts and it seemed fitting to share (the car accident and post was 6 years ago...Matt's doing great...and working at a car dealership, for that matter ;) )
My cousin got into a car accident two days ago. He is fine but his car is not...and for a guy who just graduated from high school and invested a good chunk of his hard earned money into that vehicle...it's not just a "bummer"...it's heart wrenching! My heart ached for him and was full of prayers that God would be seen as great in the midst of the heartache and that He would be glorified in the pain.
I read a quote by R.C Sproul that reminded me not only of my cousin's situation but of so many other situations that the Lord has taken others through and my own family through:
"God, in his providence, has the power and the will to work all things together for good for his people. This does not mean that everything that happens to us is, in itself, good. Really bad things do happen to us. But they are only proximately bad; they are never ultimately bad. That is, they are bad only in the short (proximate) term, never in the long term. Because of the triumph of God's goodness in all things, he is able to bring good for us out of the bad. He turns our tragedies into supreme blessings."
That quote was also in the forefront of my thoughts and meditations when I read a very familiar account in John 11. You know the one...Lazarus was sick...he was dying...and this is what John 11:5-6:
"Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was."
Ouch! The One who could heal, the One who could make well with just a few words from His mouth, the One who could take away hurt and pain and bring laughter and joy in it's place, the One who could turn mourning into dancing...seemingly did nothing. In fact, He stayed right where He was. He allowed pain and death, sorrow and tears to fill the lives of those He loved so dearly. It didn't make sense. It hurt so much...Martha and Mary knew that Jesus could have saved Lazarus...but He didn't...and the pain was intense.
That was the proximate. That was what earthly eyes saw and felt but that was not the end of the story. It was only the opening chapter. God's goodness triumphs in all things...even the painful things. Lazarus died, in the words of Jesus, "for the glory of God, so that the Son of God might be glorified by it"(vs 4). Lazarus died so that that he could be risen from the dead...so the watching world could see that there is NOTHING out of God's control, nothing in which He does not claim the victory...not even death!
My cousin Matt saw God's supreme blessing today out of the midst of pain...he saw God provide in ways that were beyond what we ever could have prayed for. He saw the greatness of God in a way he might not have otherwise...and so did we! And, in that, God is glorified and He is made much of!
Love you, Matt!