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Your Martha Meltdown Moment Part 1: Rusty Dreams

Rusty car in Bodie, California Credit: Wolfgang Staudt/Flickr/Creative Commons

Rusty car in Bodie, California Credit: Wolfgang Staudt/Flickr/Creative Commons

Trusting God at times can be a real challenge, especially when your dreams seem to have turned to rust.   We all go through dark times when we must verbalize two things: God is Lord, and He is good. I will trust Him even when I don’t understand and it seems too late – the rust is too far gone!

Psalm 42:10 says, “My enemies reproach me, while they say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’” During these dark times the enemy loves to use people to taunt us, questioning, “If God really loves you He would not have allowed these things to happen. Where is God?”

To answer, we can leave the Bible open to the book of Job. God is God, and He is good!

If my dreams seem to have turned to rust, and I picture the word “rust”, and bring the cross into the picture, right at the beginning, we now have the word, “trust.” It’s always about trust. We walk by faith, full stop. Ask yourself, “Is this broken dream from God, or was it just my thing?” Someone once said, God always answers prayer – yes, no, or wait.

God is not obliged to resurrect my plans which may be of the flesh and not necessarily good for me. If my hopes have gone from rainbows and ponies to thunderstorms and pale horses, I need to lay them before the cross, because after the cross comes resurrection. How do I do this? Again, by trusting Him.

As far as I know, the only place in Scripture where God seems to be in a hurry is in Luke 15, the parable of the lost son, where the Father runs to redeem the broken son who is walking home. In John 11, the story of Lazarus, it seems God was in no hurry at all.

In the account, we find Jesus with the twelve disciples in Galilee, a safe place. Bethany, where Lazarus lived, is two miles outside of Jerusalem, and it is not a safe place. We know that Mary, Martha and Lazarus are close siblings, and close friends and followers of Jesus. In verse 3, the sisters send an urgent message to Jesus, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” They are desperate for their brother whom they love, and remind Jesus that Lazarus is a friend whom He loves – ‘Jesus, hurry – get here yesterday!’

Do we sometimes, even subtly, try to manipulate God’s hand as we pray, sometimes making deals with God? “God, if I just get this bonus, or this job I really want, then I’ll help out with Sunday School, or give to the building fund, etc.”

But in spite of the urgent message, with a heavy heart, Jesus delays two more days before leaving.   He wants to make sure that all that is left is a pile of rust, way past human intervention, so that Mary, Martha, the twelve, and all of us learn to put the t in front of the “rust.”

In verse 20, Martha hears that Jesus was finally coming and goes out to meet Him. In the next verse, she pours out her broken heart and unloads on the Master. “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

I call it Martha’s meltdown moment. She asks Jesus the question for all of us who have stood in front of our rust and asked “why.”   Out of her pain she chides Jesus with the question many of us would like to ask and have asked in our own situations – “God, where were you when I needed You?”

I just love the dialogue between a hurting follower and a loving Saviour. In verse 23, Jesus says to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Jesus seems to push back or side-step her chiding in maybe a light or cavalier way. In response to Him, Martha believes to a point, and says, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” – one glad morning, in the sweet by and by, at some future date.

But now Jesus pushes Martha to put the “t” in front of her “rust.” Verse 25 makes it clear who Martha is talking to – not just a friend, rabbi, healer, fine teacher, but God! “I AM the resurrection and the life.”

He brings the focus to the present – it’s not just some future event, but part of who He is. If Jesus was just a good doctor, He would have hurried to Bethany, but He wanted the sisters, the twelve, and us, to live on a higher level by realizing He is not just good, but God!

I’m sure many of us have had our own “meltdown moments” where we have cried out to God through tears and pain and brokenness, “God, where were You?” The Bible has a long list of those  before us who we can identify with – Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, David and more.

Let’s look at David for a moment. He had two dreams – one from God that happened, and one from David that did not.   Samuel the prophet said that young David would be king, and David spent years running for his life from Saul, and living like an animal hiding in caves, but that dream came to be, even though in the process it had a lot of rust on it, needing trust to get through.

David also had a dream to build a temple. God said no to that dream. David was not allowed to build it, but he did all he could, putting aside the resources to accomplish it. His son Solomon was the man of peace who would build it.   Even when “no” is God’s answer to us, trust needs to be our response.

In our darkest times, Jesus still calls out to us, “I AM – trust Me.”

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