day 10 In the wake of our pain, aren't we all a bit like Mary after the death of her brother Lazarus, crying out, "Lord, if you had been here..."

Lord, if you had been here, our house would have sold two years ago.

Lord, if you had been here, we wouldn't be burying the one we love today.

Lord, if you had been here, he would have asked me to marry him.

Lord, if you had been here.....

What is the difference between knowing that God could do anything but wondering if he would?

It's natural for us to ask this question in the wake of our biggest fears coming true. We feel alone and wonder why God would allow bad things to happen, especially to good people. But even when we feel alone, parts of our soul still cry out to be rescued.

Hope encircles our pain and gives us faith to believe in something bigger than our circumstances.

Behind the curtain of our pain, Jesus has gone before us. He prepares us to face our trauma by anchoring our souls to hope in him. When we feel like we are drowning in sorrow, hope is our lifesaver.

Hope is believing in Immanuel - God with us.

Jesus says, "He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

As we circle our biggest dreams and greatest fears, we need to answer this question:

Do we believe that God is with us?

There's this girl and boy that have been dating for a few years now. They are committed to one another and are confident that they will be married after college. I admire how they believe in this to be true. I remember when I was dating Raleigh, I had hope that one day we would get married but part of me was always a little unsure. I couldn't predict the future but I knew that he made my life better and I couldn't imagine my life without him in it.

Prayer is a lot like dating. It's a continual conversation. Sometimes we approach it a little unsure and other times we are completely confident that our prayers are heard. 

When the creator of the universe asks us to believe in things unseen, there will be times when we question our faith and our beliefs. In the moments that we are hanging by a thread, might we believe that Jesus will help us rise from our pain?

After Mary said, "Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died," Jesus wept and went to the tomb where Lazarus had been buried for four days. He said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus still questioned Jesus' command but they took the stone away anyway. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me" (John 11:32-42).

May we believe that God always hears us dear friends.

Question: What questions are you asking God right now?

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Want to go deeper?
                  • Complete the weekly prayer challenge sent to you by e-mail
                  • Read Chapters 5-7 this week in The Circle Maker
                  • Follow along with the New Start 15 Bible Reading Plan.
                  • Listen to today's song from our playlist as you circle your prayers