This past weekend, my family said goodbye to a good man, a very good man, Dr. Virgil Polley. Dr. Polley was first and foremost a man after Gods’ heart and an accomplished surgeon second. He was a man who understood the concept of gratitude. His gratefulness to God was deep and real. It went beyond the simple “thank you” and pervaded his life. I am still struck by his grateful heart and I hope I can have that godly characteristic in my life as well.
At his memorial service, I was asked to read a familiar text at the funeral, John 11:21-29, where Jesus meets Martha after Lazarus’ death and proclaims that He is the resurrection and the life. As I thought more about the text I was drawn again to those powerful words of Jesus, “ I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
I have read this text so many times before and I think I have interpreted it the way Martha did in the moment. Yes, Lord in you there is eternal life. Yes, there will be a resurrection at the end of time because of who you are and what you have done. Yes, Lord I believe this.
This is the great promise that we have in Jesus. We believe in Him and we receive eternal life. There is no other way except in trusting in His love and resurrection power. I think Martha believed this. But, the more I think about this text, the more I believe Jesus was asking her another question on top of that.
I think Jesus was asking Martha, “Do you believe that there is eternal life in me and do you believe I can do this miracle right now?” Martha says she believes Him but then later tries to stop Him from having the stone rolled away from Lazarus tomb. I think Martha believed the first part of the question but not the second. She could not believe that Jesus could literally raise her brother from the dead.
As I listened to the text, I heard Jesus ask me the same question He asked Martha, “Deryk, do you believe this?” Do you believe that I can do something more than what you expect?
I admit at times I don’t. I know God is able to do anything, but then I hear myself questioning. Do You really want to do this, Lord? Yes, Lord, I think you can. Or I hope you can. To be honest Lord, I want you to but I recognize there is a huge amount of unbelief there.
Isn’t it hard to recognize those times when Jesus looks us in the eye and says, “Well, do You believe I want to do this right now?” Sometimes we get caught up in the daily walk and we begin to think that there is nothing new around the corner. I mean we hope there will be, but if we are honest, we are scared of it as well.
Does Jesus want to do something more in your life? Is He asking you to believe Him at His word now? I think He is asking that of me and I want to be the one who says, “Yes, Lord I believe. Now, let’s go move that stone and let Lazarus out.”
Lord, help me to know those times when You are calling me to believe in something more. Not just believe You can but know this is the moment you want to do something over the top. Lord, give me that faith so that I am ready to walk up to the cave, push away the rock, and see Your power at work.