Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
(John 11:1-3, NIV)
In this fallen world, many of us have a loved one who is physically or mentally ill. I lost my beloved sister in 2012 to breast cancer, she was only 48 years old. I have friends and family that have lost their sons and daughters to drug overdose or suicide. How do we reconcile this? How can a God who we are told so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, allow so much sickness and death? I believe the answer is that He gave us free will, as He gave Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We make lifestyle choices that cause our bodies and minds to sometimes get sick. My sister neglected her health- (mentally, physically and spiritually), while raising three children and pursuing a high-stress career as an executive for a large corporate company. Others turn to drugs, alcohol, or other strongholds to self-medicate or alleviate the pain they are feeling inside. When Jesus heard of Lazarus’ death, He said, “The sickness will not end in death. No it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.” After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
(John 11:9-11, NIV)
How many of us have “fallen asleep” living life? How many of us have become comfortably numb to news of sickness and death? In John 11, after hearing the news of Lazarus’ death, Jesus decided to return to Judea. His disciples responded, “But Rabbi, a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” The disciples were afraid for Jesus. What they did not know then is that He brings life back to anyone who chooses to believe in death and resurrection. He is the only Truth, and the Way to Life. The disciples had worldly thought. Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” When we get sick-mentally, physically, or spiritually, we can turn to Jesus, the only Stronghold that heals. Like the woman in the Gospels with the issue of blood, grab on to the helm of His robe and be healed. All you need is the faith of a mustard seed and the Word of God.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21, NIV)