“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 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Have you ever been in a season where you walk through one hard thing after another?
Have you ever struggled to talk with God about how you feel in that season?
One of the reasons we may struggle with talking with our Heavenly Father is we’ve been told that strong faith leaves little room for doubts and questions. The problem with that reasoning is it discounts story after story of people in the Bible crying out to God, asking hard questions, and grappling with how to trust in hard seasons.
Consider John the Baptist, who was in prison and sent a message to Jesus to ask if He was really the Messiah (Matthews 11:2-4). Let’s look at Elijah the prophet, who shortly after a huge miracle, fought discouragement so great that God sent an angel to comfort him (1 Kings 19:9-18). Then there was a father who asked Jesus to heal his sick son, even as he cried out, “I believe. Help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
In my own life, I’m wrestling with the impending loss of my younger brother. He’s not just my brother, he’s my buddy and I’m grieving. I have had a lot of big feelings and hard questions over the last several weeks. Perhaps that’s why I’m so drawn to the encounter between Martha, Mary, and Jesus.
As two sisters weep over the loss of a brother, Martha meets her friend Jesus with these words:
‘“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 NIV).
What I love about this passage is that Martha doesn’t hide her grief from Jesus. She is brave enough to ask Him the burning question on her heart. You can hear her trust in Jesus, even as she expresses her pain.
When we bring our big feelings and hard questions to Jesus, intimidation is replaced with intimacy. We are honest about our fears. We grapple with the heavy and hard stuff, and faith still rises – for who better to bring questions to than to God Himself?
When you and I push down emotions, they don’t go away. They simply fester. They will erupt at some point, perhaps days, weeks, or years later. Taking them to the One who loves you and who knows you is wise.
If you’ve been feeling big feelings and are carrying any sense of shame about that, would you consider this? God not only created you to feel, but He cares about how you feel. Those feelings have value. They are telling you where you need hope, where you might need encouragement. They inform you that you might need comfort, counsel, healing, or a place to bring them to the Light.
And as you share them with God, who loves you more than you can imagine, you are inviting Him to walk through those emotions with you.
That’s intimate faith.
Heavenly Father, there will be sorrow and sadness and hard places, but there’s joy even there as You walk through those places with us. I’m bringing how I feel to You today. I’m opening my mouth and my heart to share my faith, my doubts, my trust, and my questions. Thank You for listening,
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Who taught you to hide your emotions?
Many of us were told to shut down emotions when we were younger. We learned to push down those feelings or to put on a “good face.” The truth is when we take the time to explore emotions with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are asking God to join us right where we are.
Share that big emotion with God today. Write it in a journal. Talk to Him about it.
As you do, healing, comfort, wisdom, direction, and hope are allowed to settle into those areas of doubt, questions, or pain.
More from the Girlfriends
In Suzie’s book, JoyKeeper: 6 Truths that Change Everything You Thought You Knew About Joy, she invites you to uncover joy stealers and meet them with truth. One of the joy stealers is the belief that God is disappointed with you when you are sad. Suzie helps you to meet that joy stealer with practical and spiritual truth.
Download a free Joy Keeper journaling kit that you can use as you study Suzie’s book. Find it at joykeeper.me.
(As an Amazon Associate, Girlfriends in God earns A SMALL COMMISSION from qualifying purchases using this paid link.)
© 2022 by Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.
My sister transitioned about 7 months ago and I still struggle with that even though I know she’s in heaven with Jesus. This ministry and the prayers of others were such a comfort for me as I cried every morning reading and being comforted by each testimony.
Father God I pray that whoever is reading this will stand still and know that you are God and that you care for them. I pray that they will be comforted in the safety of your arms and anchor their heart in your word. In Jesus name!!
Thank you GIG. BLESSINGS to everyone.
This devotion spoke to my heart today in a very big way. I too am wrestling with the impending loss of my brother. He is 15 years my senior but we have always been close. He is the last member of my original family unit, that will leave me alone. I have been talking with God, sharing my feelings and trusting. This devotion helps me to know I am not struggling alone because others have experienced what I am going through. It also reminds me that I am not alone that our ever loving , full of grace, tenderness and compassionate God is also right here with me. It also had helped because I know I am doing the right things by pouring myself out to God and being in pray and in His word every day. Watching my brother suffer in the last stages of COPD and watching him fighting for his life is the hardest thing I had to do. I witnessed our parents die of lung diseases also. My brother will not trust, will not let others help him and insists on doing things his own way. So I have had to leave him in God’s hands a walk a little further away in letting go of him. I trust God will take him into heaven at His appointed time. God is good all the time, all the time God is good.
Thank you for this devotion and your commitment to Christ and sharing the Good news.
I also fear losses of family. Who am i kidding. Its a quiet and secret obsessive terror i have. Nothing is more terrorizing to me than the Loss of family. I wonder how to survive without my parents. Is it even possible. I wonder what i would do if the worst case scenario played out. But then i think of when Jesus gave the world the “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted”. He never promised us a pain free life. He only promised true godly comfort. The kind of comfort only the love of Jesus can truly give. I have seen pictures of Jesus holding tight to people or children comforting those left behind. I love those images. I hope you will feel the arms of Jesus when he holds you tightly when god does take your brother. I can almost imagine as well, the miraculous love your brother will be engulfed by when he goes home to Jesus. The gardens and the meadows. I also can almost imagine him being gently and lovingly propelled to Jesus. His heart and soul very lovingly protected and guarded by God. I hope you will celebrate his life as your very beloved little brother. I hope your tears will dry in time. I mostly hope you will learn to smile and giggle at the years he was your pesky little brother. I mostly hope you will know his love for you will never leave you. Its eternal. As is the love of God.
Thank you Susie for this word I needed it. Thank you Sherri for prayer. Thank you Teresa for the encouraging word. I have a brother not doing well. I lost two siblings. I didn’t realize i didn’t be feel safe because of other losses. When I read today’s devotion I begin to cry. I felt safe to tell God how I felt knowing he would not condemn me. My heart is a whole lot lighter know. God bless you all. Thank you Jesus!!
Sherri, reaching for a huge hug. I’m so sorry for the loss of your beautiful sister. Praying for comfort, for hope, for God’s presence close to you today and in the days to come.
Praying for your brother and for you today. Praying for him to feel tangible peace as God comes near. Praying for comfort over your heart.
Teresa, what a sweet comment. Thank you.
Let the tears come, sister. Those are healing.
Another beautiful devotional from G.I.G. I, too, am struggling. I lost my 19 year old daughter years ago, and even now, I struggle with it. But God is good and I am sure she is with him. My heart is heavy for my brother who, like you, has been a great buddy to me. He is in a nursing home and he doesn’t understand why. Most of his reasoning abilities are gone but he knows who I am. He is younger than me, he is also the youngest person at the nursing home. I struggle with questions, many questions to God. But, I am sure God has his reasons, even if I don’t understand them. Blessings to all.