..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Disappointment with God: Mary & Martha

Let's face it. There are disappointments in life. The part that we need to watch out for is if our disappointment starts to be disappointment with God. In the story of Mary and Martha we always hear about how "spiritual" Mary was and how Martha was caught up in doing stuff. We know that part.

As I was reading the story of Lazarus' death this week, I suddenly saw that it was Martha who quickly brought her disappointment to God, while Mary held back.

We've come to find out that Jesus does not move on the whim or need of man, but according to what the Father tells Him to do. When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, it said He stayed where he was for "two more days" (John 11:6). You can see the human disappointment brewing. And brew it does. Lazarus passes away and Jesus is then led to go to them. Mary and Martha are sisters. They both are thinking the same thing (Where in the world were you? This is not looking like you cared about us!) and don't hesitate to say it, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."

Note this however: Martha, for all her busyness, is the one to run out to the Lord (vs 20). She is the straightforward, pragmatic type. She is disappointed but she brings it directly to Jesus. Jesus said, "He'll rise again." Pragmatic Martha says, "I know he'll rise in the resurrection." The part that she was thinking was "but we would have preferred to have him with us here and you could have helped." For all that has been said about Martha, she clears the deck with Jesus quickly. She gives him her disappointment and prepares to move on.

Mary is noticably absent. Jesus asks about her, but where is she? Wouldn't you think she would have outrun Martha to Jesus? No, she's so hurt and disappointed that she doesn't seem to want to see Jesus, probably for fear that her true feelings toward Him would come gushing out. How long do we wait to bring our disappointed hearts to the Lord? How long do we delay running to meet Him when He calls for us in difficult circumstances?

Jesus, her Lord, did not meet her expectations and that caused a barrier to form in her heart toward Him. Yet, He was her LORD. Martha and Mary both question why He didn't come to help, but they needed to learn that as Lord He will not always come when we expect Him to. Our reaction to the process of His delayed coming will either prove that He is our Lord or prove that we have a long way to go in our journey.

Mary's heart still longed for Jesus to make it right. When Martha returned and said, "He is asking for you, " she got up QUICKLY. She could wait no longer. Disappointment or not, He was still the One that she wanted. But she had given her true feelings away. She had waited and not rushed to Jesus. Some of us can bring things to Jesus quickly and let them go. Others not so. There are pluses and minuses to each of our temperments, but we ALL must come to grips with disappointment.

The truth is, any disappointment we feel with the Lord is but a momentary one. For the scripture says, "As it is written, Behold I am laying in Zion a Stone that will make men stumble, a Rock that will make them fall; but he who believes in Him [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] shall not be put to shame nor be disappointed in his expectations." Romans 9:33(AMP) .

Better to hold out our hearts to Him and experience momentary disappointment but eternal appointment rather then to adopt the world's wisdom on the matter, "Blessed is he who expects NOTHING for he shall never be disappointed." That is not safety or surety, that is death itself.

Are you waiting? Or running out to meet Him?


Marcella Duran said...

I enjoyed your blog Disappointment with God: Mary and Martha. I am officially doing spiritual direction and this women I met with Friday seemed to be struggling with just that; disappointment, discouragement, frustration about something she thought God should have already taken care of in her life. We talked for quite a while, or rather, she talked, I listened with a few comments now and again, then we went to the little church, and I annointed her hands with oil and laid hands and prayed with her. She seemed to be less stressed when she left. I will see her again in two weeks. Another woman also approached me for spiritual direction. I haven't even officially offered my services yet to the pastor, at least, no officially. However, at our spiritual direction session he stated that I did have a gift and that it was to be used for others, that it was not just mine. That was a nice affirmation about this gift. Also, he is pleased that I am not doing secular counseling any longer. I have been spending more time in prayer, in church, Scripture and reading the lives of the saints. Of course, I have also been listening to the inspiration and direction of the Holy Spirit. All in all, I am very grateful.....God Bless, mmd

penofthewayfarer said...

thanks, M, you do have a gift...I trust the Lord will open up His perfect path for you to use it. --RM

EWhitt said...

I liked this. I am leading a devotional for a ladie's meeting at my church. When I decided to do something about Mary and Martha, I didn't want to go all out in the "traditional" direction that so many people tend to go. I think Martha gets a bum rap sometimes. We forget the good things that she did, and only focus on how "stressed out" people always portray her as. This post put Martha and Mary in a different light to me. Neither one of them is better than the other, Jesus loved them both. But we see how in two different situations the decisions that each of them made, and what can be gleaned from that. It's something we can use everyday.