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How will you face the darkest day of your life? Life is unpredictable, you never know what tomorrow will bring. You may find yourself rejoicing, or you might find yourself weeping buckets of tears. During this next week you might have the greatest day of your life, or the darkest day of you life. Dark days come. How will you face them.
This is the question Immaculee had to face in the African nation of Rwanda during the brutal genocide in that country. Listen to her own story as told in the magazine Simple Grace:
Just moments after she fled her home, a Hutu gang slaughtered her mother, father, and two brothers, hacking them to death with machetes.
For three long months, 91 days, she and 5 other women survived by hiding in a 3 by 4 bathroom. They spoke on in whispers and lived on leftovers a local pastor provided. She was close to starvation, losing 50 pounds and her body was covered in sores.
How did she face the darkest days of her life? In her own words: “I prayed all day, and that made me feel peaceful because I wasn’t thinking about myself or my pain. I was thinking about Jesus.”
How did she face the darkest days of her life? In her own words: “I prayed all day, and that made me feel peaceful because I wasn’t thinking about myself or my pain. I was thinking about Jesus.”
I believe in the passage Judy just read for us this morning, we see three methods for dealing with dark days.
In our story, Mary and Martha are facing dark days. Their brother, Lazarus is very sick, and close to death. Lazarus, who has been their rock, their support, their encouragement, their champion, is now on his death bed, and his life is slipping permanently away. All that Mary and Martha have depended on in the past is sliding through their fingers. Where do you turn, in their despair, and disappointment? What did they do:
In our story Mary and Martha are facing dark days. Their brother, Lazarus is very sick, and close to death. Lazarus, who has been their rock, their support,

Call on Jesus

Call on Jesus

Call on Jesus

John 11:3 NIV
So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
Mary and Martha turn to Jesus.
John: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition Chapter 15: Jesus Raises Lazarus (John 11:1–54)

The sisters, no doubt fully aware of many of Jesus’ spectacular miracles, immediately sent for Jesus in the hope that He would heal Lazarus and spare him from death.

They had seen him give sight to the blind. He had just spit on the ground and made mud, and then he applied the mud to the blind eyes and then told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. When he washed, his sight was returned.
They had watched as Jesus spoke and people lame from birth walked. They knew about Jesus feeding the Five Thousand Men plus women and children, with just a little boy’s lunch. They had heard of him walking on the water in the midst of a storm.
They had heard how Jesus spoke and people lame from birth walked. He had been laying by the pool of Bethesda with a multitude of other sick people, some blind, some lame, some withered, all waiting to get in the water when it was stirred up. Jesus asked this man who had been lame for thirty-eight years, “Do you wish to get well?” Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk, and Immediately, the man became well and picked up his pallet and began to walk.
They knew about Jesus feeding the Five Thousand Men plus women and children, with just a little boy’s lunch, first barley loaves, and two small fish. But he fed them all, and they took up 12 baskets of fragments after.
They had heard of him walking on the water in the midst of a storm.
If he could do this from people he did not know, complete strangers, how much more would he do for Lazarus, his close friends. So the sisters first method for dealing with dark days was to call on Jesus.
What is the first method you turn to on dark day?
In our story, Mary and Martha are facing dark days. Their brother, Lazarus is very sick, and close to death. Lazarus, who has been their rock, their support, their encouragement, their champion, is now on his death bed, and his life is slipping permanently away. All that Mary and Martha have depended on in the past is sliding through their fingers. Where do you turn, in their despair, and disappointment?
If their first method was to call of Jesus, then what was their second method.

Know that Jesus Loves You

John 11:4 NASB95
But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”
John 11:5 NIV
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
Why did John include this line, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” It was understood, so why say it? What is significant enough to lift up this idea of love?
New Testament IVb: John 11–21 Loved by the Comforter and Healer

AUGUSTINE: Lazarus is sick, his sisters are sorrowful, all of them are loved. But [they had hope because the] one who loved them was the healer of the sick—even more, he was the raiser of the dead and the comforter of the sorrowful.

Jesus does love both Martha and Mary, he also loves Lazarus, so why does the story develop the way it does. I am sure that word was sent back to the sisters concerning the promise Jesus makes. Listen to it again:
John 11:4 NIV
When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
John
Jesus said, and this is a better translation, “This sickness is not to death.” Notice Jesus said Lazarus story would not end here. Where will it end in the glory of God and the glory of Son’s one and only son. They will be glorified and praised by what is about to happen. Jesus is saying to Martha and Mary, do you be concerned with what is seen in the next few days, I am still in control.
Some of you are going through dark days, and Jesus is saying to you this morning, like he said to Martha and Mary, no matter what happens, I love you, I am still in control, even if you don’t see me, don’t hear from me, and feel like I have abandoned you, listen, he is saying to you, “I got this.”
Would Martha and Mary’s love for Jesus be tested, Yes! Their brother was about to die. As he dies, so will their hopes and dreams. We they blame Jesus, yes! But Jesus still loved them.
Would Martha and Mary’s love for Jesus be tested, Yes! Their brother was about to die. As he dies, so will their hopes and dreams. We they blame Jesus, yes!
So the first method for facing dark days is to call on Jesus, and the second method is to know that Jesus loves you. So what is the third method?
So

Trust Jesus knows what is Best.

John 11:6 NIV
So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,
Jesus delayed in coming to his friend two whole days. Wait a minute, Pastor, you said Jesus loved Lazarus, in fact you said Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, so why did he wait two days before starting toward Lazarus’s home. What happened during the time he waited.
So first, why did Jesus wait, he said,
John 11:14–15 AMP
So then Jesus told them plainly, Lazarus is dead, And for your sake I am glad that I was not there; it will help you to believe (to trust and rely on Me). However, let us go to him.
John 11:14
Wait a minute Lazarus died, I thought Jesus said, he promised, this story will not end in death, and here Lazarus is dead, end of story right. You would think so. The funeral is already being held.
John 11:18–19 The Message
Bethany was near Jerusalem, only a couple of miles away, and many of the Jews were visiting Martha and Mary, sympathizing with them over their brother.
John 11:
But then thing take a turn:
John
John 11:20 The Message
Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him. Mary remained in the house.
Listen to Martha faith, her love has been tested, here is the result
John 11:21–22 NIV
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus responses to her love and faith:
John 11:23 NIV
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
John 11:
John 11:25 NIV
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;
John 11:26 NIV
and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
So how do you face the darkest days, follow these three methods.
Call on Jesus
Know that Jesus loves you.
Trust that Jesus knows Best.
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