One of my favorite (perhaps yours as well) comic characters is good ole Charlie Brown. For a number of reasons we see ourselves in him. He is well known for saying a lot of things, both positive and negative. One of his memorable sayings is “Good Grief!”

Recently our teaching Pastor (Matt Whitlock) at Capo Beach Church, where Susan and I attend, preached from John 11; the story of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

Matt talked a good deal about grief and how it could be useful in our growth as followers of Jesus.

When I got home my mind was thinking of all sort of things spinning out of this story—John  11:1-44.

Here are three thoughts:

  • Good Grief

  • Good Timing

  • Good News

1. Good Grief

We have a good God. We always need to begin with that truth. Romans 8:28 reminds us that our good God can work all things together for good—even the seemingly bad things. From God’s perspective, grief can be good! Yes it hurts; hurts a lot. But it can also be for our benefit.

At times I feel a need to ask God to explain why He does what He does or allows what He allows. As we learn from the story of Job, He doesn’t need to explain everything to us but wants us to trust His goodness and sovereignty.

“The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?”Proverbs 20:24 NLT

The more I trust, the less explanation I need or demand.

In the case of Lazarus, the grief over his death resulted in some good things.

2.  Good Timing

From each of the two sisters we hear: “Lord, if only you had been here…” John 11:21 (NLT)

Earlier in the chapter Jesus says to the disciples  “And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t  there, for now you will really believe…” John 11:14-15 NLT

Have you ever said this in prayer to the Lord, whispered it to yourself or thought it?:

Jesus, If only you had _____ fill in the blank?

  • If only you had gotten me that job
  • If only you had provided what I needed
  • If only you had given me better parents
  • If only you had given me good health

There’s a chorus I learned while still very young in my walk with Jesus:

In His Time

In His time, in His time

He makes all things beautiful in His time

Lord, please show me every day

As you’re teaching me Your way

That You do just what You say, in Your time

If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, perhaps you’ve learned as I have that He has His timing on things and His timing doesn’t always align with what I want or am praying for. He will, in His time, work all things out for His purposes and for my benefit as He did with Lazarus.

3.  Good News

The good news, the best news in all of this, is that He himself is the resurrection and the life.

“I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in Me and believes in Me will never ever die. Do you believe this Martha?” John 11:25-26 (NLT)

Do you truly believe this, Dave?

This is our hope, this is our anchor in the storm, this is the good news—The best news!

I recall reading that D.L. Moody once said that people would pick up the newspaper one day and read that D.L. Moody. Was dead, but don’t you believe it,  he said.  I will be more alive than I’ve ever been.

Jesus thank you:

  • That grief (disappointment, discouragement) can produce good in my life.
  • That You have Your perfect timing in all things. Help me trust and rest in this.
  • That the good news is that the resurrection is a reality!