Who could
have been?


Saturday Reflection


9th January 2021


'a clear before and after'

5 So although Jesus loved Martha,
  Mary, and Lazarus,
  he stayed where he was
  for the next two days.

...John 11:5-6. NLT

I was listening to a young lady
being interviewed on the radio
Thursday afternoon.

She was autistic
and told how she had been
bullied throughout her school life.
She was asked if she thought
it had influenced the outcome
of the person she was today.

The answer was an emphatic, 'Yes'.

She said before going to school
she had been confident
and outgoing,
now she was hesitant and shy.

Some events in our lives are so challenging that they
affect who we become.

They leave a clear
before and after in their wake
and affect the way
we see ourselves and others.

Perhaps someone who was supposed
to love you, didn't -
leaving a pain of rejection
that cannot be understood.

Maybe a diagnosis or tragedy
interrupted your plans
and you long
to turn back the clock.

Whatever the hurts of our lives,
our minds still imagine
another outcome,
wondering what we would have been
had certain events not happened
in our lives.

How easily we question whether
our insecurities and struggles
might be exchanged for
confidence and calm
had the past sufferings
not happened.

Over the years, as I've asked myself who
I would have been without
the disappointments in my life,
God has shown me that
every human answer
I come up with discounts
his working in my life.

Time and time again,
the Bible reveals the Lord's
delight in using broken people,
'what would have been'
into something full of
purpose and richness.

"For I know the plans
 I have for you,"

declares the Lord,

"plans to prosper you
 and not to harm you,
 plans to give you hope
 and a future."

....Jeremiah 29:11

He certainly has!
Looking back over my life
I can see God's loving,
guiding hand.

While Jesus walked this earth,
he and his companions
weren't immune to disappointment
and heartache either.

John shares one such account
when Jesus received a message
from his close friends,
Martha and Mary informing him
that their brother,
Lazarus, was sick.

Jesus was only a day's journey
from Bethany where they lived
yet his reaction seemed confusing;

'Although Jesus loved Martha,
 Mary and Lazarus,
 he stayed where he was
 for the next two days...'

....John 11: 5-6

Finally, four days after
Lazarus' death,
Jesus arrived in Bethany
to hear the same heart-wrenching
words from both sisters,

'Lord, if only you
 had been here,
 my brother
 would not have died.'

...John 11:21

How many times have we
spoken our own version
of these words too;
wondering what would have
happened had the Lord
not allowed our hurts to linger?

But there is comfort in
this passage as Jesus
shares his reason for waiting,

'it happened for the glory
 of God so that the
 Son of God will receive
 glory from this.'

...John 11:4b

John continues painting
the scene as Jesus miraculously
raised Lazarus from the dead,
resulting in many people
believing in Jesus
as the true Son of God.

...(John 11:34-44).

Nothing is beyond his reach;
the brokenness that causes us
to wonder who we
would have been
finds its upside-down way
of being a grace.

We may not sense it amidst
the suffering, but
the experiences that happen
in our lives are not random.

Each influences the next,
shaping our outlook on life
that we would not have
had we not experienced
the sorrow.

When we look beyond who we
'would have, could have,
should have' been,
laying our hurts at the
foot of the Cross,
our imperfect stories
testify to the power of
God to bring about
all things for good.

And we know that in all things
God works for the good
of those who love him,
who have been called
according to his purpose."

...Romans 8:28

It may be interesting to watch,
or just listen to a song
'In Quietness'
sung by Luke Parker
via the link shown below.