Martha and Me
(This was originally posted quite a while ago when I had about 10 followers. It’s something I feel my readers now will appreciate and something I was recently reminded of for myself so I’m reposting it) I have often struggled with how unemotional my faith is. I see people jumping up and down during worship, praying amazingly deep prayers, or witnessing to someone from a deep place that I don’t even think I possess. I have asked myself so many times, “Am I doing something wrong? Do I not truly and deeply love my God, the Creator of the Universe?” I think I do, and then I am surrounded by others who weep, laugh, or dance when they feel overcome with God’s goodness, and I wonder if I’m missing something. I relate to God in a much different way. I am an intellectual when it comes to my relationship with the Lord. I love learning deep truth from Scripture. I feel most alive spiritually when I am talking to someone with whom I care deeply about what I am learning regarding the Lord and what He is doing in my life. I question worship songs that are not Biblically accurate, I question what pastors or teachers preach/teach if they can not back up what they say in the Word, and I love learning deep truths about my Savior. Still, sometimes I feel like there must be something missing in my faith. This past week, I was in a class discussing how to minister to women in pain. At the end of the class, we looked at the life of Jesus and how He ministered to those in pain in John 11. Basically, the story goes like this… Jesus was friends with a sibling group – Mary, Martha, and Lazarus – and Lazarus got sick while Jesus wasn’t nearby. A messenger came, telling Him that His friend was sick, but Jesus decided to stay put for two more days before heading to Bethany, where the siblings lived. During this time, Lazarus died and was buried.
When Jesus was just about there, Martha heard He was coming and ran out to Him. She said “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you. (vs 21-22)” Jesus and Martha then got into a discussion about the resurrection and when exactly Lazarus would rise from the dead – whether then, or in the last days. Their discussion ends with Martha exclaiming “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world. (us 27)”
Next, Mary comes to Jesus. Mary fell at Jesus’ feet and said to Him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. (vs 32)” Jesus didn’t say anything to her but simply cried alongside her, showing His pain and His love.
Jesus went to the tomb and asked that the stone be rolled away. Martha exclaims, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days. (vs 39)” Jesus answers her, referring back to their previous discussion, and says “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God? (vs 40)” The stone was rolled away and, after praying, Jesus commanded Lazarus to come out of the tomb. Lazarus came walking out, covered in his grave wrappings, raised from the dead. Before this class I had never really thought about Jesus’ interactions with Mary and Martha. I had always assumed Martha had expressed a lack of faith and so Jesus just had to set her straight before going to Mary, the one who truly trusted Him. I mean, later Martha also says that the stone shouldn’t be rolled away because it would smell. She couldn’t possibly have believed. Reading back over the story, though, an amazing thing is shown. The women come to Jesus with the same concern. Both women say “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Both women! When Martha comes to Jesus, she adds, “But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” She doesn’t have a lack of faith, has immense faith. It’s just that she’s just like me. She relates with her Savior on an intellectual level. She has a theological discussion about when her brother would be raised from the dead in the midst of her grief! Jesus was ministering to Martha in the way in which she needed to be ministered. It was totally ok. She ends the discussion with an expression of unquestionable faith, expressing her knowledge that He is the Son of God. Mary, on the other hand, is the emotional sister. Look at other places she is mentioned in the Bible – she sits at Jesus’ feet instead of helping with dinner preparations that Martha’s in a tizzy about and she pours expensive oil all over Jesus’ feet while wiping it with her hair! She is overrun with emotions. In ministering to her, Jesus understands her expressive emotional side and knows she needs to weep. Jesus cries right alongside her. That was totally ok too. This amazes me. Right there in the Bible I have a perfect example of how Jesus is completely fine with both ways of expressing faith – the intellectual and the emotional. He doesn’t expect an individual to change the way they relate to Him just to be like someone else. He ministers to everyone in the way they need. It’s ok for me to not be overcome by intense emotion in the way I relate to Him. I am a Martha – intellectual, practical, and totally in love with my Savior. Oh, and by the way, I would totally have been the person to point out how smelly the tomb would have been after four days. That doesn’t have to have anything to do with faith or a lack thereof. It simply has to do with the practicality of not wanting to smell anything as Jesus is doing the resurrecting. 🙂 Picture found HERE