” but Mary sat still in the house” -John 11:20
In the midst of grief over losing her brother, surrounded by the mourning family and friends, “Mary sat still in the house.” The story of Lazarus being raised from the dead, after being in the tomb for four days has unpacked more truths about the Lord as I read and re-read it over the years.
I’m struggling with some things in my own life. I relate to Mary sitting still in the house, maybe because of the seclusion and preference for “staying inside” the home to deal with heavy emotional change. I can almost picture her state, the emotional numbness unique to grief, loss and getting her emotional footing with having to adjust her life without her brother. The Bible doesn’t say the state of her heart. But the sense of withdrawal in the writing resonates with me.
When she finds out that Jesus is in town, “she rose up hastily and went out” (v.31). Do you know what it’s like to race to Jesus?
It seems she got up so fast that the other Jews followed her, assuming she was going to the “grave to weep there.” But she didn’t go to the tomb. She ran to where Jesus was. (I’m assuming she ran. Wouldn’t you?)
In my own spiritual struggles, I’ve found myself going to the “tomb.” Sometimes, it’s my past, a brokenness in my character, a bad memory, an area that I can’t conquer yet, big mistakes, little mistakes. Even in relationships where someone has hurt me, but I’ve allegedly forgiven them. I’ll go back to that place where it died.
Sometimes I might bring up my own logic, my reasoning and justification why I can’t leave it behind, why mending is impossible, why forgetting is overwhelming. I relate to Martha, needing to make sense of it, “Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.” (v.39)
Are you sure you want me to do that, Lord? I think it’s natural to question the Lord’s prompting in taking action. Jesus reminds her of who He is in verse 40, “Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?”
Do you believe Jesus is who He says He is?
Then, look at the newness He shows in verse 43, “And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.”
He doesn’t tell Lazarus, “Come back.” Isn’t that the way we want to go? We get caught up in the idea that going back to how things were would be better for us, while the living Savior is standing right in front of us, telling us to go forward.
By the way, I also consider the big decision Jesus had to call Lazarus from the presence of God in heaven to be on Earth with Him again, so that the Lord may be glorified by showing other people how he was raised from a 4-day stay in death. I suppose, in life or death, being with the Lord is a good thing. 🙂
For me, the act of sitting still in the house gave opportunity for the Lord to watch and see the Lord arrive at His time. Then, to see all the wondrous miracles after Jesus got there is truly amazing.
But it starts with knowing who Jesus is.
I pray that you are blessed with comfort with anything in your heart that is not settled. Take a few minutes to sit still in the house and listen for the Lord and what He has for you.