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So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” John 11:3 (NLT)

“Your dear friend is sick.”

He was the Son of the Living God. He was a King. He was surrounded by people who needed his touch of healing for their souls and bodies. They were tired, poor in spirit and in pain.

But Mary and Martha had no problem sending him the message. They knew Jesus. They knew that no matter where he was or what he was doing he would want to know about Lazarus. Why? We really know nothing about Lazarus. He certainly wasn’t a public official of any importance (that we know of). Why would someone of Jesus’ caliber and importance give the news about Lazarus anything more than a passing thought?

Because, Lazarus was Jesus friend, that’s why. Not just any friend mind you. Lazarus was Jesus very dear friend. Some translations use the word dearly loved one, but I like the very dear friend statement. To me you can love someone from a distance, but a very dear friend is one you go to when they need you. You drop everything so that you can be with them to comfort them when they need comfort, encourage them when they need encouragement and celebrate when a celebration is in order.

Mary and Martha knew something each of us needs to remember. We, like Lazarus, are Jesus’ very dear friends. There’s never a time when he’s too busy to listen. Never a point in our lives where we are too far from him, even during those times when it seems he is silent.

When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick he was a day’s journey away. A day can seem like an eternity when we are in need. A day can make the difference of life and death, of celebration or need of encouragement.

Jesus answers often come in ways we don’t understand or agree with, but they always come in a way that will glorify God and strengthen us for the journey ahead. I’m sure that Mary and Martha watched the road desperately in during Lazarus’ last days. One eye on the road, one their dying brother. They went through the mourning. They went through the funeral and burial. Four agonizing days later Jesus came and the ‘If only you’d been here’ resulted in a reunion with their dear brother.

You, like Lazarus, are Jesus’ very dear friend. He is always aware of your need and never removed from your pain. He understands your anger, doubt and worry. His timing isn’t always understood, but it’s always best.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, there have been so many times when I’ve wondered where you were of if you even realized the struggle I’m in. Thank you for the reminder that I’m your very dear friend. When I’m in the dark times of my life I pray that you would help me remember you love me and that even if you don’t answer the way I’d like, your way is always best. In your name I pray, Amen.

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March 2011
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