“I was reading again the story of Lazarus,” Stan commented one morning, “and I recalled a point that a friend of mine told me about that story.”
“What’s that?” I asked. “How Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead?”
“No,” Stan relied, “it was before that, before Jesus and His disciples even headed to Bethany where Lazarus had died and been placed in the tomb. It had to do with how the disciples misunderstood what Jesus told them, how He made it clear what He meant, and how the same thing applies to us.”
“What same thing?” I asked.
“Well,” Stan replied, “as I remember the story about my friend, he had the sense that God had told him that he wanted him to do a certain thing, that he went ahead and did what he thought he was supposed to do, but it didn’t turn out as he had expected.”
“And he concluded what?” I asked. “That he had misunderstood what God meant?”
“Exactly,” Stan replied. “In retrospect, my friend said that at the time he had wondered if he understood, but he didn’t ask for clarification.”
“And how does this relate to Lazarus?” I asked.
“Jesus told His disciples that Lazarus had ‘fallen asleep’ and that Jesus was going to go to Bethany and wake him up.”
“But,” he continued, “the disciples misunderstood what Jesus meant.”
“In what way?”
“They said to Jesus that if Lazarus was asleep, he would just wake up on his own.”
“Oh,” I replied, “they thought Jesus meant that Lazarus was just sleeping, not that he had died.”
“That’s it,” Stan said, “and then comes the part that I think applies to me and to each one of us, the part where Jesus made it clear what He meant.”
“Jesus said, ‘Lazarus is dead’. “He made it real clear what He was talking about.”
“And you think He will do the same thing with us if we’re not sure about what He means?”
“I do,” Stan replied. “And I’ve experienced it myself many times. When I’m not certain I understand what God wants me to be and/or do in any particular circumstance, I ask for clarification.”
“And He will do that?” I asked.
“Definitely,” Stan replied. “I believe that God wants His will to be done in and through me, and if He knows I don’t quite have it right, He will lead me to ask for help from the One who has been sent for that very purpose.”
“The Holy Spirit?” I asked.
“That’s it, and that’s why He’s called the ‘Helper’,” Stan replied with a smile.
Bible verses to consider:
The disciples therefore said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. Then Jesus therefore said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.” John 11:12-14.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:11.
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever. John 14:16.
Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Matthew 7:7-8.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that your will is going to be done on earth as it is in heaven, and that you want me to be involved in doing your will by listening to what you have for me to be and to do. I confess that too often I do not seek to know your will for me, but I go off on my own with only a partial understanding of your will. Please forgive that foolish approach to being a part of your will being done on earth. Please help me in following every step of your lead into knowing and doing your will, including asking for clarification if I’m not sure I understand. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you ever been in a situation where you thought you knew what God had for you to be and/or to do, but in retrospect you realized you were at least a little uncertain, but didn’t ask for clarification? If so, what happened? Do you think there’s anything wrong with asking God for clarification after He has spoken? Why or why not? What does it mean to you that God’s will will be done on earth as it is in heaven? If you sense a need for changes in how you are a part of that will being done, how are those changes going to occur? Is that what you want? Why or why not?