Good morning–and happy birthday, mom! Some believe that when God is present, evil and suffering will be absent and vice versa—if God is absent, then evil and suffering will be present. Some put it even more specifically. Some say, “Christians believe that God is all-loving and all-powerful—yet evil exists. He is either all-powerful and doesn’t care, or he’s all-loving and not powerful enough to do anything about it.”
This plugs in to this account in a stark way. Mary and Martha knew that Jesus loved them. Martha approached Jesus and said something that many would chime with: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (11:21). A sadness pervades this particular statement. She does go on, “But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”
But don’t we know of some who stop at the end of v. 21? Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. We do see Mary stopping there… maybe due to her grief she stopped there. But if we stop there, we may begin to wonder if God is there. But remember, the presence of suffering and evil does not equate to the absence of God.
Jesus reassures here that He is the resurrection and the life. Jesus asks Martha, “Do you believe this?” It’s a question we must ask ourselves—do we believe this? As we look and reflect on this tragedy, we tend to simply look at what we can see and let the feelings dictate. Again, why do we have this sense of issue when something tragic or even unfair seems to happen? We must recognize that Christ came to rescue from this—but not to prevent it.
(From a sermon from April 21, 2013.)