I’ve been thinking about Martha from the Bible a lot lately. Martha often gets a bad rap due to her busyness in wanting to serve the Lord, while her sister Mary was content with just being at Jesus’ feet. It’s often preached to us that we should be “a Mary in a Martha world,” but there’s a piece of Martha’s story that we often forget about.
In John 11 we find the account of Lazarus’ death. Jesus knew that Lazarus was dying but didn’t show up on the scene until four days after he was laid to rest. Martha, I’m sure, was probably confused at Jesus’ timing when she says in verse 21, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” But here’s the part of her story that is so moving and inspiring. In the very next breath she says, “But I know that God will give You whatever You ask Him.”
In the midst of her heartache and grieving, Martha still had faith in God’s power and believed that He was at work, even in such an awful situation. As the story continues, we see that Jesus brings Lazarus back from the dead, and what’s interesting is something He said earlier in the passage when his disciples questioned why He wouldn’t visit Lazarus before his death. Jesus said in verse 4, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified.”
This made me think of countless IoH families who have used their illnesses to bring glory to God, who trusted in Him even when they could not understand what He was doing. For many of the families we serve, a miracle of physical healing may not happen, but God can still use their situations for His glory.
I’m reminded of two very important people who used their illness for God’s glory: Kristen Milligan and Holley Kitchen. Without these ladies we wouldn’t be gathered in this room right now. We wouldn’t be preparing to serve 29 amazing families again today, we wouldn’t have the generous support of Kendra Scott and her team, and we wouldn’t have the beautifully precious relationships that we have developed with each other and the families we serve.
When Kristen and Holley were sick, they could have stayed focused on Martha’s first question, wondering why Jesus’ healing power was not showing up, but instead they trusted that He was at work in the midst of what they were walking through. Because of their obedience to honor God in their suffering, we can be here today and share the same hope of Christ that they had with our new friends who are attending today. God used their cancer for His glory, and He’s still using it today.
I want to end with a quote from Kristen’s book because I believe she said it best: “If our hearts are willing, our greatest trials can be used by God to produce the most beautiful fruit.”
Anna Conti is a Legacy Retreat® Coordinator with Inheritance of Hope. Her family attended the January 2011 Orlando Legacy Retreat®. She originally shared this devotional with the February 2019 Orlando Legacy Retreat® team.