Question time: What do you do when the washing machine overflows?
How do you react to a really negative post on your Facebook page?
Can you keep your cool when your curling iron overheats and melts your hair?
Imagine discovering that your car has been towed!
Delays, disappointments, and doubts stink! And at some point, we all have to face the stinky stuff in our lives.
In John 11, Lazarus was deathly sick, and his sisters, Mary and Martha, were stuck in a stinky situation. They sent for Jesus, and when Jesus finally showed up, Lazarus had already died and been in the grave four days!
The sisters were crying, the mourners were crying, even Jesus cried. As they stood weeping and wailing at the cave/grave where a stone sealed in the body of Lazarus, Jesus made the most remarkable request: “Take away the stone.”
“But Lord,” Martha said, “by now there is a bad odor!”
“Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” Jesus told her.
When faced with a big stink, it’s easier to leave well enough alone. To settle for what you’ve got instead of contending for all the good stuff God has for you.
At Jesus’ request, they obeyed and took away the stone—and there was a stink!
The stink wasn’t there to symbolize sin. Nothing in the text indicates Lazarus was struck down because of sin.
The stink was there to. . .
- Delay God’s glory from being revealed
- Distract them from seeing the miraculous
- Detour them in doubt instead of believing.
They had to push through the stink to get the miracle!
The same is true for us. Sometimes we have to push through the stink to get to the good stuff. But, friend, good stuff is coming!
After they rolled away the stone, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man walked out!
I don’t know what kind of stink you may be facing today, but if the Holy Spirit is telling you to do, or to go, or to say something that seems wild and outlandish, just do it.
Face down your fears, push through the stink, and claim your miracle or your calling or your peace.
Courage and perseverance
Don’t let stink delay God’s glory from being revealed in your life.
Decide not to let stink distract you from seeing the miraculous.
Above all, don’t let stink detour you into doubt instead of believing.
It takes courage and perseverance to push through the stink that’s distracting or detouring you.
It’s hard to…
- kick that addiction
- forgive someone who’s hurt you or betrayed you
- pray fervently for a prodigal
- stay invested in a difficult marriage
- keep your job
- quit your job
- start a job
But you can be assured that a fresh testimony waits for you just beyond the stink.
This week, ask God to help you see yourself and others with eyes of grace as you look for miracles all around you.
“These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” —John 20:31
Jesus, thank you for drawing me to yourself. Use my story, my mess, my moments to reveal yourself to others. Amen.