God, If Only...

by Justin Smith on August 09, 2023


“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.” John 11:21-22


“God, if only You had…! If only You had answered this way, if only You had moved this way, if only You had been there, or if only You had done this…! You may have not spoken these exact words out loud, but how many times have we wished God did what we wanted, moved how we expected, and answered how we saw fit. Usually these thoughts come partnered with disappointment, frustration, and the notion that we know what’s best. Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s really hard to trust in the face of disappointment! Martha understood these exact sentiments.

With Lazarus’ passing, we find Martha and her sister Mary in mourning. A strange superstition of that time was that the soul of a person lingered for three days in hopes of returning to its body, and once those three days passed all hope of resurrection was considered lost. Jesus had a plan, Jesus had the timing, Jesus knew what was about to take place, and he waited to visit Mary, Martha and Lazarus for four days. When He finally steps on the scene, Martha approaches Him and says “Lord…if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Now I don’t know her intention behind these words, but if that were me I’d be a bit perturbed. “Jesus, if you would have been here you could have saved him! Why didn’t you come earlier? Why didn’t you save Him? Don’t you love us?” That would have been my response! But Martha doesn’t stop there. Full of faith she continues on, “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Disappointed, yet trusting. Frustrated, yet full of faith. Sad, yet hopeful. In the midst of feeling let down she was able to still genuinely say, “God if only You had…BUT I trust. I trust You still can, I trust You know what’s best, I trust Your love.” Ultimately, God could change the situation, He did know what was best, He did have overwhelming love, and He did bring Lazarus back to life after four days!


Today, may we not complete our thoughts with “God if only…”, but may we find the faith to continue our thoughts with “But I know that even now…”. Even now He knows best, even now He can do anything, even now He is completely trustworthy, and even now He is moving in love. He may not move in your time and your way, and that’s ok! Here’s the even harder part: sometimes God’s best won’t be what we want or expect, and in these moments, when our faith is tested and our emotions are high, may we find hope in remembering that even then He truly knows what’s best. Today, if you find yourself disappointed by life, discouraged by circumstances, or doubtful of God answering your prayers, may He grant the faith, the courage, and the surrender to trust today.


Jesus, please forgive us for the times we doubted Your way, Your plan, and Your love. Thank You for reminding us that when things don’t work out the way we want You are still moving and You are still orchestrating Your best plan. Grant us the faith, courage, and surrender to trust today that we might see You glorified thorough these trying situations. In Your name, Amen!


Previous Page