Friday, September 20, 2013

The One You Love Is Sick

I am studying John 11 this morning, and a few verses stuck out at me. For me, this was a lesson in prayer. I sometimes get frustrated at the amount of information that comes in a simple prayer request. I will get an email or a prayer request sent through my social media, and I have to spend 30 minutes trying to sift through the amount of information given to me to find the actual prayer request. As I read the scriptures found in John 11:1-3, I was encouraged to keep praying when those requests come, but instead of reading and sifting, just life the name of the person before the Lord, He will do the rest. Jon Courson in his commentary on the New Testament summed it up better than I could.
"Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore, his sisters sent unto Him saying, 'Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.'" (John 11:1-3)
Here is the commentary from Jon Courson....."Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus...that the one He loved was sick. I like that! They didn't say ‘The one that loves You is sick,’ but rather, ‘The one You love is sick.’ Like Martha and Mary, I don't approach the Lord on the basis of my love for Him. You know why? My love is fickle and feeble. But His love for me, however, is fixed and firm. He's never surprised by what I say, never taken aback by what I do. Therefore, wise is the man or woman who approaches the Lord based on HIS love....Notice that Mary and Martha didn't instruct the Lord concerning what He should do. Oh, how often I make that mistake {me too!}. I become aware of some problem or need and immediately start instructing the Lord about how He can solve the situation. ‘Who hath given the Lord counsel?’ asked the prophet rhetorically. (Isaiah 40:13) A lot of us try. We would be far wiser to follow the example of Mary and Martha, ‘Lord, the one who You have affection for is sick.’  They weren't commanding, they were communicating.
What a lesson in prayer for me today! How often I go before the Lord and tell Him how to heal someone. I pray for Him to heal them this way, to do this for them, and give Him a list of how He can make this miracle happen. But Mary and Martha only sent to the Lord Jesus and told Him that the one He loves is sick. Jesus already knew that Lazarus was sick, and He already knew what He was going to do. Sometimes I pray and I feel like I have to give every detail of the situation to the Lord. But do I forget that because He loves me, that because He desires to see good and not evil upon me that He will always do what is best for me, and for those I pray for.
I hear these long explanations from others on what to pray for. I get prayer requests in my email and through my social media that goes into long explanations of what is wrong, what focus my prayers should be on, and how I should go before the Lord and ask Him to fix the problem. But what if we just prayed like Mary and Martha did? The Lord does not need our long explanations or our long winded requests for prayer. He knows you are sick, He knows you need His help and because He loves us, He will respond.

Pastor Chuck Smith states, “They knew that Jesus would respond, that He would respond to the need because of that relationship they had with Him. So they didn't feel it necessary to tell Him how to respond or to demand a response.” (C2000 Series, Chuck Smith Commentaries, Blue Letter Bible) When we pray do we believe the Lord loves us? Do we believe that He will respond not because we love Him but because He loves us?
“Where there is a true bond of love, there is no need to request a favor; it is enough to make the need known.” (David Guziak, Commentary on John 11, Blue Letter Bible) We do not need to air out all the details before the Lord, all we need to do is believe in His love for us and tell Him that the one He loves is sick. We do not need to direct His hands to do the work, because He already knows the outcome. Prayer I think sometimes can be a cover for gossip and we as Christian women need to be careful to pray and not to fall into the gossip. All we need to do is go before the Lord and let Him know that the one He loves is sick. It is simple. We do not need to give Him the details, He already knows them and He already knows what He is going to do even before we ask.

    Prayer is simple, we make it hard. Prayer is not an opportunity for gossip, it is a way for us to communicate the needs of our lives and the lives of others to the One who loves us and gave His life for us. May the Lord Jesus Christ hear your prayers today, and may we believe that He responds not because we love Him, but because He loves us. To Him be the glory, Amen and Amen.