What Is That Stink?

No one wants to admit it, but we all have to face down stinky stuff in our lives.

What do you do when the computer swallows up your documents? How do you react when you discover your secret stash of Oreos has been raided? 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! 

In John 11, Lazarus is deathly sick and his sisters, Mary and Martha, are stuck in a stinky situation. When Jesus finally shows up, Lazarus is already dead and has been in the grave four days! 

The sisters are crying, the mourners are crying, even Jesus cries. They are still weeping and wailing at the cave/grave where a stone has sealed in the body of Lazarus.

Then Jesus makes the most remarkable request.

He says, “Take away the stone.”

Martha jumps in and says, “But Lord, by now there is a bad odor!” In response, Jesus said,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

This is where it gets really interesting!

In order to see the glory of God – the manifest presence of God at work on the earth,
to experience his favor, blessing and splendor, to have the good stuff and see the miraculous,
you have to push through the stink.

What????? Yikes!

That is exactly the situation Mary, Martha, the visiting mourners, and Jesus’ followers are facing. They had to trust Jesus, agree with his request and obediently choose to take away the stone and face down the stink! And they do.

The stink.

The stink isn’t there to symbolize sin. Nothing in the text indicates Lazarus was struck down because of sin.

  • The stink is there … to DELAY God’s Glory from being revealed.
  • The stink is there … to DISTRACT them from seeing the miraculous.
  • The stink is there … to DETOUR them in doubt instead of believing.

They had to PUSH THROUGH THE STINK to get the miracle.

Sometimes you have to push through the stink to get to the good stuff. But, Friend, good stuff is coming!

Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” And, the dead man came out! 

Are you facing down some stink in your life?

I don’t know what you’re facing today, but if 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. 

Don’t let stink DELAY God’s Glory from being revealed in your life. Don’t let stink DISTRACT you from seeing the miraculous. Above all don’t let stink DETOUR you in doubt instead of believing.

There is a fresh testimony waiting just beyond the stink. I’m sure of it. 

What is the stink that’s holding you back from experiencing God’s glory and favor? And what do you need to do to push through it? Leave me a comment, I’ll be happy to encourage you!

Scripture Refresher: But 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 NIV

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for drawing me to yourself. Use my story, my mess, my moments to reveal yourself to others. Amen


  1. Jane Parrott on July 22, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    My husband’s Alzheimer’s care is overwhelming. From appts to 3 different therapists and a nurse every week, I’m trying to adjust to a different life and know I’ve got to find time for me to continue caring for his needs, but I can’t seem to get to that point.

    • Robyn Dykstra on July 23, 2019 at 4:32 pm

      Oh Jane,
      I can only imagine how exhausting this is on you. Praying that you find the reserves you need and the reinforcements to support not only your man, but you, as well.

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