This book is a quick read - I finished the whole thing in one afternoon at the pool (my kids are good enough swimmers that I do not need to be in the water with them any more). Anyway, Anne Graham Lotz wrote this book to answer the question "Why?" and focused on Jesus' delay in coming to the aid of a sick Lazarus and then His raising Lazarus from the dead.
- God uses suffering to turn ordinary people into vessels of faith and strength, as ways to display His glory.
- Turkeys and eagles respond differently in a storm. Turkeys run and hide under a shed somewhere on the farm. Eagles let the winds of the storm take them even higher, so they soar above the storm and are safely above it all. What do I do when the storms of life hit me? How do I respond?
- Jesus waited two days before He went to help Lazarus. During that time, Lazarus died. Lotz writes that this was a "purposeful delay" on Jesus' part. Lotz writes that God often delays in helping us until we have exhausted all of our own resources. He wants us to exhaust every other avenue of aid, so that we will recognize that it is God helping us.
- When Jesus was ready to raise Lazarus, He asked Martha to roll the stone out of the way. Martha objected at first, but then she complied. Then, Lazarus was able to overcome death and walk out. Lotz wonders if we are ever in Martha's position. If there is something we can do to help remove an impediment from someone else's life to lead them to freedom in Christ? We cannot resurrect a deceased person, but we are able to help people accept Christ. Perhaps Lazarus was too physically weak to roll the stone away himself. Perhaps he could not hear Jesus from inside his tomb. For whatever reason, Jesus needed the help of Martha to accomplish this miracle.
- Jesus tells Martha to "take off the grave clothes (on Lazarus) and let him go." What if Lazarus refused his renewed physical life? The idea seems preposterous to us. But, how many people are offered salvation and refuse it? God promises us peace and joy, yet we turn down the offer and remain mired in guilt, worry, and self doubt.
- Lotz writes that Biblical scholars assume that Lazarus' family is wealthy because they have their own burial plot, were capable of throwing a dinner party for Jesus, and Mary had a jar of very costly perfume. They were also well connected, being close to Jesus. Yet, when the story opens in John 11, none of that matters. The simple words "Lazarus was sick" define the situation. We are not told what he was sick with, how long he had been sick, what type of medical care he had available. Just "he was sick." The great equalizer ... illness.
- People have been asking the question "Why?" forever. It is not new to us. Even Adam and Eve faced the same issues as we do. Surely they regretted their decision to disobey God. Surely they wanted a second chance at obedience. Then, years later, they faced the devastating murder of one of their sons ... by another son. Any human would ask "Why?" in Adam and Eve's shoes.
I love how a book can expound on one little portion of Scripture, giving me new insights on a story which I have heard so many times before.