New Hope Notes

When Life Situations Go Beyond Hope

Dr. Paul Risser
April 1, 2012 - W1214

In the Book of John, Chapter 11 there is the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Listed are seven miracles which he called signs.  John also told about the effects of the miracles and the messages behind them. The purpose of these signs is to get us on the right road to see the greatness and the wonder of God.  My favorite miracle is the seventh and last one that speaks of Lazarus.


The story is about three people, Lazarus, his sisters Mary and Martha. They lived in Bethany which was only two miles from Jerusalem.  Instead of immediately going to see Lazarus when Jesus received a message from Lazarus’ sisters, he delayed

His journey two more days.  Jesus did come when Lazarus was in the tomb for

four days and then raised him from death.


In fact, what does Jesus do at the time?




The Bible tells us that Jesus said (John 11:14-15), "Lazarus is dead,

and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.  But

let us go to him.” Jesus was almost glad that Lazarus had died. He even purposely lingered before going to see His friend. He did not warn Lazarus of his impending peril and He did not teleport Himself to Lazarus’ side. He let Lazarus die.


You see, God is moving us to where He wants us to be – not necessarily where we want to be. And we may not understand why. I myself spent three years of misery in the beginning of my ministry.  I think God had me there to prepare me for the rest of my life.


You are being prepared for your future. You will make it because God will not let anything stop you. But when you pray, remember …


     (1)   What prayer is not:


Prayer is not advising God. But sometimes I forget and in my prayers I tell God the situation, in case he doesn't know.  I tell Jesus that I would like to help and tell him what he should do. If you find yourself telling God what to do, remind yourself that God already knows everything by reading Psalm 139:


 “You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
 Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.”




(2)   What prayer is:


Prayer is praise for the Lord and is a demonstration of trust in God.


When Israel fled from slavery in Egypt, God wanted Israel to depend on Him – not on Egypt. God made it so that Israel could not turn back to Egypt so that Israel would be dependent on Him.


This reminds me of the story of the husband and wife just before Thanksgiving. The wife asked the husband if they should buy a plane ticket so that their oldest son could come home for Thanksgiving. At first the husband said no. But then the wife showed him a greeting card the son had written.  It said that the husband was the “best dad ever”. Immediately the husband said to buy the son tickets home for every Holiday!


That is how God feels about us. There is a great gap between man and God but God is trying to close it.


Jesus wept at the thought of Lazarus’ death but He knew what He had to do. Lazarus’ sisters thought that Jesus had waited too long and had let the situation go too far. They thought that the spirit had already left his body. But Jesus proved them wrong and demonstrated the power of God even more so by bringing Lazarus to back to life after so long.


The point is …




As God said, "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher

than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher

than your thoughts." (Isa. 55: 8-9)


Even when you think that it is impossible …




Always remember this …




Mark Simon’s family was not Christian and his mom died when he was a little boy. However, at age 15 he began going to church. He accepted Christ and was so happy but there was sadness because he believed his mother died without accepting Christ. One day while talking with an old family friend, he found out that his mom had secretly accepted Christ! She had kept it a secret because his father was not a Christian! Mark was overjoyed! Later, on his deathbed, Mark’s father also accepted Christ because he wanted to be with his wife in Heaven!


So you see, with Christ, there is always hope!