See Beyond Present Circumstance

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” — John 11:1-4

Most of us know the story we are about to read is the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. With this in mind, these first few verses set the stage for us with a sharp contrast between how Jesus perceives situations versus how humanity does. Jesus looks at illness, death, and the challenges of this life differently than you and I do. He is not distracted by distress, fear, or future concerns. And he is not because he is always certain about what God's going to do.

But Mary and Martha come to Jesus with this urgent plea. They want Jesus to intervene immediately in the illness of their brother Lazarus. And they do one thing right. They bring their concerns and needs to Jesus. But from there, they do a couple of things wrong. First, as we will see through the continuation of the story, they have trouble believing the truth Jesus spoke to them. Jesus gave them a promise, it was — “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” But they didn't accept it, maybe because the physical truth was more true to them than the spiritual truth Jesus spoke. Yet they had enough belief to believe Jesus could heal him because they had seen him do it before, but it was an incomplete belief. This leads to the second thing that did wrong, they believed but only believed healing was possible if Jesus worked a certain way. If Jesus worked their way. But Jesus did not work the way they expected, which exposed their incomplete belief.

So here are some thoughts for you on this. First, when you encounter a challenge in this life, the one to go to is Jesus. It's always Jesus. There is no one else with answers like Jesus. Second, coming to Jesus means you need to start listening to what he says. The way to do this is by finding key scriptures that will anchor your belief. Fighter verses that you can preach to yourself when physical and emotional experiences seem more real than his truth. They sound like this one here — "This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Third, stop expecting Jesus to work things out your way. Because guess what? Sometimes Jesus will do exactly what you expect, and then you will link your expectations and actions to how he works. But Jesus is not subject to your expectations and desires. He is God, and we are not. And sometimes, he provides the way you expect, and sometimes he provides in a different way. And we have to be okay with that from beginning to the end. And lastly, when he does respond, you need to give him glory because that thing he did, was done for his glory and not your own. So give it to him.


  1. How can we cultivate a perspective like Jesus, where we see challenges and trials in life differently than the world around us? What steps can we take to anchor our faith in God's promises and rise above fear and uncertainty?
  2. Reflecting on the story of Mary and Martha, what are some common tendencies or limitations in our own beliefs and expectations of Jesus? How can we deepen our trust in God's ways, even when they may differ from our own desires or preconceived notions?

DO THIS: Anchor yourself in God's truth.

PRAY THIS: God, help me cultivate a perspective like Jesus, anchored in unwavering faith and trust in Your promises, so that I may rise above fear and uncertainty and see the challenges of life through the lens of faith, giving You all the glory. Amen.

PLAY THIS: You Are God.

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Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.

5 thoughts on “See Beyond Present Circumstance

  1. gonzalo correa says:

    Amen my Brother Vince!

    We all have a testimony and circumstances we can show off God to the world and tell of His amazing works in our lives. I pray the men the continue walking with the Lord, like me, increase in the perspective of Jesus and decrease in the world’s. We will be called home soon enough brothers, just hold on to our faith, hope and love for all of God’s people a little bit longer! maranatha

  2. Rob McKnight says:

    In 2018 I had a heart attack and while in the ER of my small rural hospital waiting to be transferred we had our minister along with head deacon come to pray for me. There were 6 of us and the five others layer their hands on me and our minister anointed me with oil then prayed. Not sure how long he prayed but I will always remember this in the prayer, Lord just heal Rob’s heart so the doctors will have nothing to do. Well after a strip to the cath lab and another test the Dr came in and asked why I went to the ER. I told him everything and he said after what you told me and the ekg and blood work you had a good heart attack. Your heart shows nothing. It’s in great shape.

  3. Eddie Ackerman says:

    Thanks for your insight and deep diving into Scripture. I have ALWAYS missed that promise that it was for His glory that Lazarus fell ill and that Jesus said he would not die (spiritually, of course). I have heard this story MANY times, but never realized that Jesus was sent for BEFORE the miracle that will happen later in the story. In the off chance someone has NOT heard this story, I want them to be able to hear it from you, so no spoilers, but again, thank you Vince for the insight, proving to myself yet again that the Bible is a living, breathing, changing thing. We hear different things from the same Scriptures when we are going through different experiences, and when we have new ears to hear as well.

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