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Ministry

The Fourth Day

They had sent a message to the Lord. They were assured of His love and interest, but He had not come in time. Hopes they entertained for healing slowly ebbed. The inevitable happened, crushing the last faint glimmer the had for his recovery. Reality confronted them – he died.

The funeral cortege followed the grieving sisters to the tomb where they laid the body of their brother Lazarus. One day passed, then two, and then three. He did not come.

But then Martha heard that He was coming. She ran to meet Him and poured out her grief at His feet. He, in turn, gave her a revelation and a promise of seeing His glory.

Mary had remained quietly behind in the house. Her grief was just as real but expressed in a different way. The divine sympathizer knew how to address and comfort each of them. Together, they made their way to the tomb.

At the site of the tomb, the Lord Jesus issued His command to remove the stone. Martha, ever the practical one, remonstrated that it was the fourth day. In her mind, the fourth day meant it was too late to do anything. She thought the Lord was too late! And we all know the rest of the story.

Perhaps as we “shelter in place,” we feel like the sisters did as they awaited the coming of the Lord and His healing touch. We have prayed; we have supplicated for His intervention. In some places there are believers who are afflicted with COVID-19 and assemblies are praying. Yet He does not come.

The virus continues to spread with epicenters in the New Jersey-New York area. We are that red dot in the center of the dart board. The pandemic has come, and we feel as though it is the fourth day – nothing can be done now. We are immersed in it! The Lord is too late.

Are you sure of that? Do you think that somehow things are out of control? We have to assert again that God does not cause pandemics during this age of grace. Sickness and disease are the fruit of sin in our world. But God uses even the evil for His purposes. Sin may fuel the ship of evil, but God is able to steer it in whatever direction He chooses.

So, continue to pray; continue to look for God to use all that is happening for the good of sinners, the blessing of His people, and to further His great purposes. It may be the “fourth day,” but God is not finished.

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