The Experience Fall 2020 Edition

and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! (Philippians 2:9- 11) The people in this drama have only the Old Testament, three years of experience with Jesus, and are still developing their faith as they make application to their lives revelation by revelation. We, the reader, find ourselves cross-referencing scores of scriptures that further galvanize in our minds that God is always in control. The people in this drama, however, are struggling like the desperate father they saw once admit, “I believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). It is tempting to scoff at the lack of faith of the participants of this drama while we sit in this privileged position. But the people in this drama are not reacting too much differently than how we often react when we ourselves experience deep pain – or, a colossal pandemic. In this season, we are all experiencing deep pain and uncertainty. We have sincere questions for God. We have not received too many desired answers. It is no doubt that when pain strikes, our theology is also put to the test. Out of the myriad of life lessons that can be extracted from this vivid drama found in John chapter 11, believers of all centuries would do well remembering that the Creator of the world and the Savior of our souls loves us unconditionally. And, as a result, we should commit to trust God no matter what we are experiencing in this crazy season of life and ministry. Rehearse Jesus’ unfailing love for you. Immediately before the Apostle John rehearses three confusing responses from Jesus to Martha and Mary’s plea for Him to come heal Lazarus (e.g. “So Jesus then said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there!’” John 11:14-15a), John inserts a reminder to the reader that no matter how things

look in the next few moments of this drama, never forget that Jesus loves these people. “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (John 11:5). This one truth is constant, trustworthy, and sure. John knew we needed to be reminded of this simple, yet profound, truth prior to reading the remarkable details of this story. When you are unable to discern God’s plan, and the details of your life seem unpredictable or, worse yet, unloving, begin to rehearse the profound truth that “Jesus loves ME, this I know.” You can find comfort in the attributes, character, and promises of God to carry you through each day when you cannot discern the details of the day. Make your own decision to trust God no matter what. Do not be tempted to fracture your trust in the Lord just because others have become weak in their faith. Do not allow yourself to divert from your default reaction to trust God no matter what. Do not entertain thoughts that would attempt toput God’s sovereignty, faithfulness and love into question. Jesus turned to Martha and stressed this very point when stating, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40). What is difficult to discern in English is crystal clear in the Greek text; that is, every “you” in this verse is singular. While Jesus certainly desired faith and trust from the masses and could have shouted this question to the doubting masses who surrounded Him, Jesus turns directly to Martha and asks her this singular question requiring Martha to make her own decision. Jesus requires the same from you and me. Do what it takes to remind yourself that God is trustworthy, always in control, and has a bigger plan of which we may not be aware. In this drama, Jesus required His followers to be disturbed for four days as He

allowed Lazarus to die so Jesus could raise him from the dead in order to precipitate the united effort of all the haters of Jesus to declare that Jesus should go to the cross. And, in dying on the cross, Jesus provided salvation for “whoever will call on the name of the Lord [will be saved]”! (Romans 10:13) God had a bigger, colossal plan which the participants of this drama (and us today) are all so grateful He remained faithful to and did not divert from despite our prayers for relief from the immediate circumstances! God is trustworthy. During this challenging season, the Christ Followers at Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, have committed to trust God no matter what! We all have written and posted a message in the most frequently trafficked areas of our lives in order to remind us that God is trustworthy and that we have committed to trust Him no matter what:

As we all attempt to navigate this extremely colossal and novel season to remain faithful to God, join your brothers and sisters in Christ who have committed to. . . TRUST GOD NO MATTER WHAT!


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