Once upon a time there was a family of 2 sisters and one brother. Jesus knew them and loved them all. (John 11:5). In the providence of God, the brother got very sick. The sisters sent for their friend, who loved them all, remember. But instead of coming quickly, He deliberately waited 2 days before starting the long trip (it took at least 3 days) to the family’s home. During those days, the brother died. Then, after he’d been in the tomb 4 days, Jesus came on the scene. The sisters both asked the same question: “If only…” If only” – He had come sooner He could have prevented this death. “If only..” (John 11:21, 32)
I think, probably, most of you have also asked similar questions: If only God had… healed her. If only…
…I had taken her to the doctor earlier
…she hadn’t been exposed to ---- at school
…he hadn’t fallen or been hurt in sports
…he had chosen friends with better character
…God had kept him from those people
…the timing of our car drive were different – if only we were not in that place at that time…
…God had protected us – like He promised
...I had/hadn’t said that
And so on.
The sisters did ask that question and Jesus met their hearts’ needs. He told them that He is life. He is resurrection. He is where these blessings are found. Even when death is in the family. He gave them this new information about His character and plan.
He also met them with deep compassion. He actually hurt for them! (John 11:33, 35, 38)
Then He took action. Combining His compassion and His agenda of Resurrection, He called Lazarus out of the tomb and into life again. He certainly did show Who He is – THE Resurrection and THE Life, the Lord over Death and the Grave. He showed the people and made the some of the religious authorities so mad they began to plot for His death. But at the same time, He blessed this beloved family with their brother back.
I know a bereaved mom who went out the cemetery where her daughter was buried and called for her daughter, just like this scene. She felt she had to try! In that case, God did not bring the child back to this earthly life. He allowed the child to stay in her new life, her Heavenly Life. And He comforted this mom in other ways. Don’t worry, some day mother and child will be reunited in that Heavenly Life. Because Jesus IS the Resurrection and the Life.
If only...’s are tough questions that come out of faith and hurt and hope. Jesus is Lord of these details too. He invites you to ask your tough questions. He is Lord of All, as well as THE Comforter who meets your heart's needs.