“Martha, Martha!” Jacob yelled as he ran up to her out of breath.

Martha looked up, first with expectation and then confusion. “Where is He? Where is Jesus? Didn’t He come with you?”

“I gave Him your message that Lazarus is sick and I thought he would follow me when I left. But He didn’t.”

“Well, what did He say? Did He say anything at all?”

“Well, yes, He said, ‘This sickness is not to end in death…”

Martha’s face broke into a broad smile. “Oh, I knew it! I knew He wouldn’t let us down. Oh, thank God, I have to go tell Lazarus he’s going to be alright.”

Martha rushed off into the house and only then did Jacob have the courage to call after her, “But he also said, ‘but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.'”

Martha called back over her shoulder, “Well, yes, of course. When Lazarus is healed, it will be for God’s glory!”


You and I have already read the story in John 11. It doesn’t quite happen as Martha expected. Lazarus dies and Martha and Mary are crushed since it seems Jesus has abandoned them. But four days later Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead to God’s glory.

But I fantasized a little, wondering if Martha only heard the first part of Jesus’ message. Because it reminds me of when I’m selective in claiming God’s promises. Or I ignore the verses I don’t want to obey and only pay attention to the ones that are easy to obey. Or I interpret a verse a certain way and can’t see that it might have a different meaning. This week I heard a radio preacher say that a gift book of God’s promises doesn’t have any unpleasant “promises,” only the ones we want to hear.

Martha had no idea all that Jesus’ message meant. She heard the message she wanted and couldn’t imagine the the depth of what Jesus intended. Thankfully, Jesus’ plan could not be thwarted and God was glorified in greater ways than Martha’s desires ever could be.

I know none of us will perfectly hear God’s messages or perfectly interpret Scripture, but let’s be more aware of how we might be only hearing a part of Jesus’ plan.