silhouette of boy running in body of water during sunset
Photo by Samuel Silitonga on

Prologue: All was too quiet in the town of Bethany as if things unsaid were muted by the mirage of kaleidoscope colors changing in the sky. From pale yet rich coral shades of cotton candy, the sky enveloped its audience in captivity as it morphed into the dark, silk-stocking moods of sorrow among the people. Everyone knew that Mary and Martha had called for the Teacher, but He hadn’t come. The people questioned their disbelief with mutters of the families’ cry, “If Jesus would’ve been here, their brother Lazarus wouldn’t have died.” Though He had not come, His tardiness surprised them; they were not even sure He’d still be coming.

Through echoes as curious as children looking for their friends or the moon playing peek-a-boo with the sun, you can faintly hear their conversations between Jesus and His followers. Still at least a day out in travel near the town of Bethabara, “Teacher,” the Disciples inquired inquisitively to Jesus. “Mary and Martha called for you. Their brother Lazarus is sick. Why have you waited for two days to go to them?”


“He’s not coming,” her voice shattered their bellowing silence in disbelief of the Teacher’s absence. It’s because I’m a sinful woman, her past mocked her.

“No,” her sister stated, breaking the thoughts within her mind that haunted like a helpless prey, entangled amid its suitor’s web.

“Maybe He’s just running late,” her worried sister inquired, too lost in chores and responsibilities to hear the absurdness if her accusation.

“Oh Martha, when will you remember what Rabbi said?” she quivered, repositioning herself on the chair of which she’d sat stagnant for too long.

“That’s it!” Martha exclaimed as if a sudden light had illuminated her disheartened soul, paying no attention to her sister’s rebuke.

“I’m going to go find him.” her voice shook in as much desperation as hope.

“Martha wait,” her sister cried, too late to reach the ears of the now racing figure on the other side of the slamming door. He’s never going to make it in time Mary’s thoughts reminded her. “But what about when He told me ‘go,’ your sins are forgiven?” she muttered under her breath. Fidgeting with the small cloth that lay upon her lap, she took a deep inhale, followed by an exhale that startled those sitting around her comfort.

“What’s the matter, dear?” an elder to her right provoked.

“Nothing,” Mary weeped bitterly. “I just thought for sure He’d get here before Lazarus died,” her immediate question of uncertainty as uncomfortable as her frequent shifting in the wooden chair.

“Sometimes we have to believe He has another plan,” the elder spoke softly, reaching her frail hand into the palm of Mary’s and stroking it gently. “Sometimes it won’t make sense,” she reaffirmed, nodding her head up and down as if partly from the insight and partly as if she were still trying to convince herself of that truth.

Gazing out the window, Mary began to pray for two things. One that her worried sister wouldn’t make a fool of herself in front of Jesus, but two, that God Himself would perform a miracle for Lazarus whom she could hear gasping his last breaths in the background of her dark and overcast home. Blowing the only lighted candle out from the windows frame, she made her way to the middle room as her guests bid their farewell, and she melted into a puddle on the floor, full of nothing more than a seed of faith planted in a dry and weary land with no water.

In the meantime, Jesus continued with His Disciples. “I told you,” His stern voiced rocked their ship-wrecked mentality. “I’m waiting two days to leave for Bethany,” He persisted with a nudge of confidence.

“But Master…” one of the Disciples started, as Jesus cut off his words quicker than he could finish them, for he already knew every single solitary word.

“Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death.” His raspy tone softened, looking around to the gaping mouths around Him. “No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this. We’re going to Judea,” He insisted, again speaking before the full understanding of their time. “Then, we will cross over to Bethany,” He finished, folding His hands in a prayer-like manner and gently extending them to the sky as he closed His eyes ever so slightly.

“Are you sure, Rabbi?” His followers interrogated, genuinely concerned that those who had just tried to kill Him in Judea would still be lurking around the shadows of a small yet dangerous town.

“There are twelve hours of daylight every day.” He spoke in parables again, as the Disciples scratched and tilted their heads in wonderment as they so often did. “During the day, people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world.” He continued as the Disciples quickly readjusted their gaze as if they had not zoned out for a moment. “But at night there is a danger of stumbling because they have no light. Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him,” He shouted, answering the thoughts that had weighed so heavily on their minds the last two days.

But it’s been two days now, John remarked to Himself. I don’t know why He waited so long questioned Mark in the depths of His mind. They are all doubting Peter prided himself on the interior wall of his self-proclaiming thoughts.

“Disciples!” Jesus shouted, crashing through the invisible wave of their storms lost out at Sea.

“But Teacher,” the Disciples inquired inquisitively to Jesus. “Mary and Martha called for you. Their brother Lazarus is sick. Why have you waited for two days to go to them?” They all added at once now, interjecting remarks as if they too were fit to be Kings.

They don’t know what they are talking about John muttered under his tongue, flicking out a speck of saliva that was as dry as his patience with the other Disciples.

Jesus shook his head, feeling the roughness of his hands as he rubbed them together like the kindling of a fire. “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake, I am glad I was not there,” His gentle tone remarked in a sincere expression for the opposing words that just came out of his dialect. But he did not mean them how they came across to His earthly companions; they just lacked the understanding to comprehend His Heavenly wisdom. Sighing a little in apathy for those around him, you could almost feel the Disciples shudder in their incredulity that misconstrued His prophetic omniscience.

 “Come, let’s go see him,” He urged, shepherding His sheep away from those that were straying the path before them.

“We should follow Him!” Thomas interjected in a slightly too optimistic tone for that of his peers. Yet reaching the town of Bethany a mere two days later, his faith had succumbed to the majority of those around him. It had been said by those passing that Lazarus had been in his grave for four days, and they should turn back. But despite the groans of His fellow companions, Jesus kept them going, often yipping at their feet if they slowed down to stop, losing hope of their eternal objective.

“Who’s that woman running in the distance?” one of the Disciples questioned, spotting a frantically crazed woman that looked as worried as a spotless lamb being led to the slaughter. Making her way to the front, she paced her steps with Jesus and tumbled into His arms. As her distraught limbs tangled into His presence, she faced Him as He held her tightly.

“Lord, if only you would’ve been here, my brother would not have died,” her vague resonance disclosed. Appalled by the woman’s audacity to reprimand what they had all been thinking, she startled them. As she continued in unwavering optimism that convicted them to the point of grief, “But even now I know that God will give whatever you ask,” her words rooted firmly in her stance as she composed herself. 

“Your brother will rise again,” Jesus told her; “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 die. Do you believe this, Martha?” His question rang in the silence.

She pondered over the question in her mind as if she’d been asked an unknown test question she didn’t know the answer. But she knew the answer was yes as she faithfully declared, “Yes, Lord. I have always believed.” following Him as He continued to make a circular path with His route.

Smiling, Jesus gave her His hands and bid her fetch Mary, of which without a second glance, she was running as quickly as the wild woman they first saw her. Immediately summoning Mary, they returned to the place just outside of town where Jesus was waiting for them. As if one could read the mind of the other, Mary choked out the same phrase her sister had uttered just a few moments earlier, to which the Teacher replied, “Where have you laid him?” as a small tear began to melt down the side of his cheek. Weeping softly in comparison to the women’s’ horrendous cries, “See how He loved him?” the Jews questioned, but Jesus gently shook His head as if He had more to add to their inquiry.

Now quickly making their way to the tomb that had been sealed for four days, it appeared that grief was written all over the Master’s face. A look of sorrow as if he were mad at death itself for taking ransom of one of His beloved children plastered His face. “Roll the stone away,” He persisted, ignoring anxious Martha’s note that the smell would be worse than yesterday’s garbage thrown out to the curb for decomposition.

“Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” His calm words rebuked her questioning as the stone rolled away, and Jesus looked up to thank His Father. An image that I suppose He did more for the encouragement of His onlookers than the questions in His mind.

“Lazarus, come out!” Jesus exclaimed in a loud voice that rocked the tomb as fiercely as an earthquake. To their disbelief, the dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face that dropped to the ground like the crowds’ jaws had in skepticism of the once dead man now walking before them. 

“Take off the grave clothes and let him go,” Jesus said to them.

You could almost see Lazarus running in his freedom now, away from the tomb, his death, his friends. And straight into the loving arms of the sun.


Like the witnesses to a resurrection, many of us question God when He doesn’t answer our prayers in the time-frame we have created for Him. We try to fit Him inside the boxes of our mind, morphing our prayers into doubted pleas, that when they don’t turn out the way we anticipated, we feel disappointed.

We fail to comprehend why He would allow a good man to die when He could have saved Him from afar.

We ponder why He waited two days to go to Bethany, knowing that Lazarus would die, and his family would be grief-stricken.

Our hearts and minds shake at his sculpted body, weeping with those around Him when He could have prevented the sorrow.

Yet if these witnesses to a resurrection teach us anything, perhaps they remind us that we too have moments where we question God, where we fail to have the wisdom He rules.

But in those moments of reservation, we too are given a choice. To be like Martha, caught up her worries, Mary, too distraught to move, the Disciples, too credulous to believe that their Lord might have another plan or Lazarus, a man facing his death with the collision of faith that would raise him from all of his fears. 

Agape, Amber