Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Where were you?

Where were you?  It is a question that we have all been asked at some point in our lives.  Sometimes it is followed by more: where were you born?,  where were you yesterday?, where were you when I needed you?  It is safe to say that at sometime this question has been directed toward us.  If the context happens to be joyful then the anticipation of sharing good news affords the feeling of elation, But what about when the context and tone tell us that what we are about to hear is going to be less than pleasant?

Where were you?  Jesus is asked by Lazarus' sister, Martha.  We can hear her tack on, Didn't you get the message?  If you had come earlier, sooner, faster you could have changed the outcome.  Where were you when we needed you the most?

Does that sound like a familiar question at all to you?  Invariably at some point we have not merely been asked the question of where were you, but have asked the question.  As faithful believers and practicing Christians we have shot the question off to God.  Where are you? I need you -- why aren't you here?  Then we feel guilty for questioning the presence of God with us.  Martha has no such reservations and she says to Jesus in verse 21 "Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died."  Where were you, why didn't you come as soon as you got the news?  Jesus responds with the beautiful line that we all know about him being the resurrection and the life.  Then he in turn asks a question, "Do you believe this?' and we know the simple answer is "yes Lord, I believe."

In these days of fear and uncertainty perhaps this is just the passage we need to hear and conversation that needs to take place.  It is perfectly alright for us to cry out; Where are you?  It is perfectly acceptable for us to question and struggle with the present time, circumstances and fear that is Covid-19.  But - there is always a but - we need to listen to the response of Jesus.  Questions are fine but here is something for you to consider as well.  Listen to what God speaks in our lives, listen to what is going on around us and see the presence of the holy in the simplest things in life.  And once we see and acknowledge the holy in the little things it will become more evident all around us.

In the midst of the struggle it is hard to recognize that Jesus is here now.  We want to cry out, "Lord, where are you?"  God does not let us down but is ever present in our lives.  He walks with us, weeps with us, carries us and finally receives us when our earthly journey is complete.  But we are never, never abandoned.  Martha felt abandoned and Jesus uses the opportunity to remind her and through her Jesus reminds all of us that God is a God of love not abandonment.  Jesus' prayer at the grave of Lazarus becomes our prayer "Father, I thank you that you have heard me!"

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