Jesus, Where Were You?

Sharon JaynesNever Less Than, Prayer 103 Comments

Have you ever gone through a situation and wondered, Jesus where are You? If You had been here, this wouldn’t have happened? The loss of a loved one? The crash of a car? The devastation of property? Did you know that two women in the Bible felt the same way…and actually told Jesus just how they felt about it!

Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and their brother, Lazarus. He often stopped by their home for a hot meal during His travels. I’d dare say they were some of His closest friends. And yet, when the girls sent someone to tell Jesus that Lazarus was sick, He didn’t go…at least not right away.

The Bible tells us, “So, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea” (John 11:6-7 NIV).

It’s the word “so” that stops me in my tracks. He loved them so He didn’t go. The sentence doesn’t say, but He stayed there two more days, as it if were a careless mistake. It says so as if it were a calculated plan. It was.

Once Jesus decided to return to Bethany of Judea, His disciples tried to talk Him out of it. A short while ago, the folks there had tried to kill Him. But Jesus wasn’t worried.

He told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him” (John 11:14-15).

Hold on just a minute. Did you catch what Jesus just said? “I’m glad I wasn’t there.” Those words stop me in my tracks too. Why was Jesus glad that one of His best friends had died? Because God had a greater plan.

When I go through something painful, I wouldn’t want a friend to say to me, “I’m glad it happened.” If they did, they wouldn’t be a friend much longer. However, God sees what we can’t see. Sometimes what we have in mind is not what God has in store.

Why would Jesus say, “I’m glad I wasn’t there?” Why would God be glad that hurt that feels like it is tearing us apart happened? I think it is because He knows that the mended heart will be much more stunning and substantially stronger than the unscathed soul. He looks through the lens of process to view the finished product we cannot see.

It’s hard when you read the stories in the Bible or hear about a modern-day miracle and know that God can do something but He’s not doing it for you. I’m sure it was hard for Mary and Martha who had seen Jesus do magnificent miracles to understand why he wasn’t doing one for them. We silently think, If God really loved me, He would…

Answer my prayer.

Stop the struggle.

Rush to my rescue.

Send me a husband.

Make me fertile.

Save my husband.

And He would do it now.

When Jesus finally arrived, Martha ran to Him and said, “If you had been here my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). Then Mary ran to Him and said the same words (John 11:32). Two sisters. One conclusion.

Have you ever said those words? I’ll admit, I have. Men and women throughout the Bible voiced their disappointment when God didn’t act as they had hoped. Even Jesus, when He hung on the cross, did not call out the comforting words of the twenty-third Psalm but the agonizing words of the twenty-second.

God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us. And yet, when we are in the dark chapters of our story, it can feel as if He is far, far away. And we wonder why He didn’t stop the thing that tore our world apart from happening. But He has a plan.

After Jesus spoke to Martha and Mary, He walked to Lazarus’s tomb—a cave sealed by a large stone. Nothing going in. Nothing coming out. Or so it seemed. Then Jesus said, “Lazarus come out” and he did.

Sometimes a seemingly bad thing happens so that God’s best can be born. Jesus told Martha, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40).

God frees us from our small, short-sided interpretations to reveal a complex multi-layered ending that makes our jaws drop. All the while asking, “Will you trust me?”

And when we echo Martha’s cry, God where are you? His answer is always, I’m right here. Working all this out for your good.

Father, help me to trust that You always have a better plan for my life than I could ever come up with on my own. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What difficult situation do you need to trust Jesus with today? Leave a comment and let’s pray for one another. Just a few words will do.

Today’s devotion was an excerpt from my book, Never Less Than: Living Empowered, Esteemed, and Equipped When the World Tells You Otherwise. Get Your copy today. A Bible Study is included!

(This is a revised and updated edition of How Jesus Broke the Rules to Set You Free)

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Comments 103

    1. Im on disability from 3 hip surgeries that did not go well. My car is broken down. My furnace isn’t heating the house very well. My roof needs re-shingled!

      1. Dear Debbie,
        God took my sister from death by cancer when she was only 42. She was brilliant, beautiful, and looked like she was only in her twenties. She was a talented writer, with her career opening up, and was about to be married. She was my very best friend, and the person I was closest to in all the world. I was so hopeful the Lord would heal her, as she had only recently committed her life to serving Christ.
        I was very angry at God for a long time. One good thing is that I could talk to Him and tell Him exactly how I felt. It has been over 30 years, and I still don’t understand why she had to die so soon. I still miss her, but the Lord has put many Christian “sisters” in my life, which has greatly blessed me over the years I have had to live without my beloved only sibling. When I see women friends with several sisters they have enjoyed over their long lifetimes, I can feel jealous, but I am thankful I have the hope of seeing my sister again one day in heaven.

        1. I lost my sister to cancer 8 years ago this coming Sunday. I find myself filled with a sense of dread and so very sad every January leading up to the 30th. My solace is remembering she is with our Savior and our Mom, also that I will see her again in eternity but it sure does not shake the pain of today.

        2. My aggressive ADHD and Autistic son and my health declining due to so much stress. Accepting my dad’s death last year and stopping myself from asking why everyday.

  1. Oh your daily devotionals speak volumes to my pain and my struggles. I am 34 years old and having issues health issues, spindle parent and co parenting difficulties. Please keep me in prayer sister. May the Lord continue to bless you richly and use you mightily to bless others.

  2. I need to trust that God will bring my son and his family back to our family. It’s been 5 years, and I honestly have at times questioned why he hasn’t stepped in. I know (now) that there’s nothing I can do, but find myself wondering what I could have/can do to “fix” it.

      1. I need prayer for my health, my job and my finances. I’m in a pit in so many areas of my life and I’m starting to lose hope that it will ever turn around.

    1. Pray and petition. Put all things at god feet. I did that for my hard hearted daughter and she now is a very loving mother. It didn’t happen overnight

  3. I have been struggling with my hearing for years. I have a wonderful audiologist who keeps on trying but it is just not working. I hear but don’t understand. This has caused me to shut myself off from everything, even church. Thank God for a wonderful & understanding husband. Today I go to try different hearing aids. Please pray for God’s guidance in these.

    1. Susan you will be in my prayers and keep me in yours. I have the same problem and I dread going to certain places because I won’t be able to understand what people are talking about. My husband is very patient as well. I have tried hearing aids but nothing works and there is no surgery option either. I pray God will give you something to help but more than anything peace to live with this.

    2. Susan,
      I pray that God gives you better hearing and understanding. I was told at 40 that I needed hearing aids and did not get them until I was 60. Like you isolated myself from social functions, hard to hear at Church and talking on the phone. So glad your husband is patient… sometimes people can be cruel. I am blessed to have found great hearing aids and it had made such a difference in my life! I pray the same for you!

    3. Susan,
      I pray that God gives you better hearing and understanding. I was told at 40 that I needed hearing aids and did not get them until I was 60. Like you isolated myself from social functions, hard to hear at Church and talking on the phone. So glad your husband is patient… sometimes people can be cruel. I am blessed to have found great hearing aids and it has made a difference in my life! I pray the same for you!

  4. Thank you for all your encouraging words. I know God is with me all the time. My husband is only 69, soon to be 70 and is in a nursing home as he can’t stand or walk. He has had rehab over the past year and a half and would be able to walk but failed to follow through with the exercises and kept going backwards. He is discouraged and depressed. He can’t believe he is in this situation. He feels God is not answering his prayers. He will see a neurologist in Feb. to determine if anything else can be done. It has been determined that he had a mini stroke 2 years ago but it was never treated as it should have been. I ask for prayer for him to be encouraged by the Lord in whatever way God wants to do it. Thank you again for sharing God’s word and the reminders that He is always with you. God bless you abundantly.

  5. Trusting Jesus to break through the anxiety my kids and husband suffer from, and show them the joy that walking with Him can bring! He will make a way…

    1. This is my prayer as well Melissa plus the depression my son has been burdened with for the last 3-4 so he can move forward in life. The Word says where two or three are gathered He is in the midst so I stand in agreement with you and pray that these chains be broken off our loved ones in Jesus name🙏🏽. Let’s praise Him in advance for the shift He is going to make. Hallelujah!

  6. I feel I have lost the closeness of Of Jesus that I once had. I don’t read my Bible as I once did. I want to be close to Him. I want to feel His love.
    My husband passed 1 1/2 years ago
    My youngest daughter 26 years ago
    Two grandsons 5 and 6 years ago
    My parents 2003 and 2017. I don’t feel a purpose in my life anymore.

    1. I saw your response this morning for a prayer request. I am so very sorry for all your loss. I have not experienced loss as you have but I do identify with the longing in your heart to draw closer to God. I, too, want to draw closer to God. Over the years, when my children were young, we practically ran the church, forever giving, doing and when hurt came things have never been the same. My Pastor suggested I start a study on the Beatitudes to truly discover the goodness of God and His example of living and after a while I have found myself more interested in reading and writing Gods word. May God turn your heart’s desire toward home in your search for a deeper and more meaningful relationship.

    2. Oh, Abba…
      Please Remember Gloria..
      Please reveal Yourself to her as well as her purpose.
      It is Jesus Christ’s Name, that I plead..

      All for Your glory alone!

    3. Dear Gloria, sorry for the losses you’ve endured. I pray that God would give you fresh hope, a new experience in his love that will give you renewed strength and purpose. May his peace surround you and uphold you. In Jesus name, Amen.

  7. Thank you for these insights. Please pray that I really believe that God has a bigger plan than mine and that I do not feel like an irritant, but God’s child of love. I am praying that my words and actions glorify God, but I can tell you I feel like a pain in the neck to my husband. I know feelings are not what you go by – but it’s so. . . There. I am tired of feeling this way. Please pray that my mind is lifted up. Thank you.

  8. My adult children are in their wandering years. Pray for God to draw them back to Himself. Put Godly friends in their path. 🙏. Amen!

  9. That my 22 year old daughter is afraid to go to the dentist and she could overcome the fear, when she was younger she always went to the dentist but she had bad experience,That she could kick that enemy to the side💪 please pray for her that she would overcome her anxiety and fear for the dentist🙏

  10. I lost my husband 4 months ago and I’m so angry at God and the church we had been going to abandoned me after my loss.

  11. My mom passed away last week at the ripe old age of 98, it was expected eventually but not at that moment. There is confusion and the family had decided on a celebration of life and now they want to move it to a later time. I am just asking God to help me roll with it ..I really don’t like family dissension and get that we are all grieving differently. I want God’s plan so again, I am asking God’s help for me to go with the flow and not make things harder for all. I was the one that moved in with her almost 6 years ago and I have to start a new life…so yep..I need God’s plan not mine !!

  12. My teenage son has been going through a rough and tough time for the past two years. From defiance, running away, and smoking weed to depression, attempted suicide, and tons of doctors, therapists, and counselors! He has court today for some of the poor decisions he’s made. I pray that I can put complete faith and trust in my amazing Jesus.

  13. Please pray for an ugly situation that has arisen with a friend/co-worker. It has the makings to be very ugly and the enemy is at work to destroy the relationship. Pray that God will redeem the situation and bring healing.

  14. I would like to pray for a friend, her daughter Sam went missing under suspicious circumstances 3 1/2 years ago from Washington.

    Please pray find her so they can bring her home. Thank you

  15. I have relocated to Canada since March and need to find an important pieced of identification left behind in the Caribbean to complete some important paperwork. I found a copy of the front but not the back and both the back and front are required. I have also applied for new identification but because of Covid, applications are backed up.

  16. A front bottom tooth came out last night and I have great anxiety with dentistry. Pray that a simple solution can be done and that I will be calm.

  17. I’m exhausted, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I’m a pastor’s wife and in the past 5 months we have lost 5 church members to sudden and tragic deaths. We are a young church on the brink of revival, and I need prayer! We prayed for miraculous healing fervently for 2 of these and nothing happened. Why? Where are you God?

    1. Sheila,
      I know what you are going through is very difficult. Please know that when you prayed for healing for your church members that (those two specifically) WERE INDEED healed! When we pray for healing, we don’t really know if God will provide earthly healing or heavenly healing…it’s His choice. Like Sharon Jaynes said, “Sometimes what we have in mind is not what God has in store.” So very true. Ask yourself this: if you could talk to your two friends who passed away and are in Heaven now and could ask them if they would like to come back, do you honestly think they would? I bet (without any doubt) they both would say, “Nah, I’ve got a really good gig here. I think I’ll stay with Jesus, but I’ll save you a seat and wait for you here.” Sometimes we never know why God answers our prayers the way that He does, but take faith in the fact that He DOES answer and that it is ALWAYS in a manner that caters to His greater plan.
      I’m sorry you are struggling right now. Please know that as Christians we ALL struggle. You are not alone! I am praying that you find peace, comfort, and strength to carry on and lead your congregation. I am confident that God will answer that prayer as well. Hugging you from here. #KeepSwimming

  18. What wonderful words of compassion & encouragement! Thank you for sharing these thoughts from His Word. I will apply this to my long-standing physical need & mood disorder—also will pass along to my dear friend who is presently walking a challenging journey with ovarian cancer.

  19. I’m having difficulty with my illness. One thing is I’m glad it brought me to Jesus. If I didn’t get sick I wouldn’t make the decision of accepting Christ Jesus as my Lord and Savior. But I’ve really suffered and want to be my healthy state before the illness. I want to be normal and free from the torture.

  20. I am struggling with the sudden death of my husband and the long estrangement of my daughter. I feel so alone and find it difficult to find how God is working in these situations.

  21. I was betrayed by someone over the weekend. It cuts deeply. I’ve asked the Lord to help me forgive but it’s the painful memory and the broken trust remains.

  22. My daughtsr died in September. I had been praying for her along with many othsrs. I feel as though I didn’t pray hard enough.

  23. I just started a new job that I thought was an answered prayer. I’m struggling to make progress. I feel like I’m failing. All those feelings of “not enough” are back and paralyzing me. I need the Lord’s strength and guidance to figure things out. I want to be a good employee….succeed at my duties and tasks that are required.

    Or. Show me where I should go. Maybe this is a stepping stone…

  24. My husband is ill with lung issues, I do not know how much longer he has. I struggle at time when I think about being alone. I know God will take care of me. Its just hard getting through this time in my life.

  25. I am bound up in overwhelming fear of my future. My life has fallen utterly apart as my mental health deteriorated starting in 2020 after Covid first hit. I was pushed beyond my threshold to cope and it has left me so frightened and fearful of what lies ahead. I am so cut off now as I lost my vehicle this past July and I have no one — no husband, no girlfriends, no close family. I don’t know what to pray for anymore but I don’t want to lose hope that my heavenly Father still loves and sees me and has a beautiful plan for my life. Would you please pray for me. Thank you. 🌹

  26. I NEED prayer for my health and my finances! I KNOW that I need to TRUST God and rely on his decisions. It’s been difficult.

  27. A foreign adoption that seems to be a scam leaving a heartbroken family that has spent thousands of dollars & a little boy with medical issues who desperately needs a loving family.

  28. Thank you for your wisdom and sharing God’s truth. Trusting in the waiting is so hard but knowing His perfect timing and answer is best.
    My husband and son have lost faith in Jesus through much suffering and my heart is broken. Our marriage has taken a toll after job lost and addictions. Covid hit hard and we are just now recovering in isolation along with so many. Thankful to be alive as we have lost some to this awful virus. Heartbroken but trusting God’s plan and redeeming grace. All for His Glory!

  29. Sharon,

    I can’t even begin to thank you for this. I’m literally today years old, when God opened the eyes of my heart to truth. I’ve been a Christian for as long as I can remember. The last 7 years I’ve worked on deepening my relationship with the Father, read the Bible through in a year, reading it through again this year, seeking hard after His will, and yet I’ve always had one question in my heart.

    Why if God promises to never leave us or forsake us did He forsake His Son on the cross?

    And then I read, “Even Jesus, when He hung on the cross, did not call out the comforting words of the twenty-third Psalm but the agonizing words of the twenty-second. I immediately went to my Bible app and looked up Psalm 22. Verse 1 “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (NLT) And tears flow. God didn’t abandon His Son.

    Thank you for your words. Thank you for allowing God to use your words to open my heart to His truth.

    Friends, we are truly NEVER alone.

  30. Definitely know the feeling. Its very hard to lose someone so close especially when we pray for them so vigorously. Its hard to wrap my head around that no from God. But thats when we need our faith all the more. Dont listen to the lies from the devil but turning to God for understanding and peace with the death of a loved one is necessary. I pray that for you and your family in Jesus name.

  31. I pray continuously to have a relationship with my youngest daughter and her two beautiful daughters. My husband and I have no idea why this relationship stopped, but she won’t return our phone call or texts. Prayers are lifted up everyday for their peace and happiness. Thank you.

  32. My Heavenly Father who strengthens me through all situations, guide me so that I KNOW HOW to trust You, only you as you lead me to wherever it is I am going. I cannot foresee the future. In the name of Jesus, bind the fear and cast it out. Please replace it with Your Agape Love. In your Holy name. Amen!

  33. My 22 year old son was in a terrible motorcycle accident this summer. After many surgeries and procedures and a brave battle he passed away 6 weeks later.

  34. Please pray for my husband and I as we make some important decisions for our lives! And our sweet daughter as she makes some personal and professional decisions.

  35. My grandkids won’t have anything to do with me I raised my oldest granddaughter and always helped with my others one they won’t call text or anything they won’t even talk to me and I don’t understand I’ve prayed about it and asked God to mend the relationship please pray God heals it

  36. I unexpectedly lost my job while my husband is out on 3 month surgical leave. I homeschool our children so that work-from-home evening job was a huge blessing. Trying to trust that God has something better in store.

  37. I understand what this story says, but it’s still a story where the miracle happened. My family believed in a miracle, and my husband and children’s father went to Heaven. It was months filled with hope and belief, only to be left with the shock, heartache and despair of what happened. So many moments of the journey feel like nothing but cruelty. It rips at my mind and heart every day.

  38. My only child, my son Brandon was killed in a motorcycle accident. He was only 20 years old. My parents have passed away, I am divorced and he was all I had and was my whole world.

  39. Pray for a revival in my niece. She has slipped away from God and living in terrible sin.
    I would live like Jesus did. Forgiving all others and really dedicate my life to him so he can use me however he sees fit.

  40. I have severe Gastroparesis and have been in a major flare since the end of September last year. I haven’t had a meal since then. I’ve lost a significant amount of weight. Weight I couldn’t afford to loose. I had a surgery in December that didn’t work. I was scheduled to have a feeding tube placed tomorrow however, my husband got Covid last Thursday so my surgery has been canceled. (My husband and I are fully vaccinated.) I have to take a PCR Covid test tomorrow and if it’s positive my feeding tube has to wait 28 more days. I have been devastated! I am so malnourished and dehydrated. I have said out loud “God must hate me!” Instead I need to stop and think he’s protecting me and making sure my surgery is done on the day it’s meant to be done on. It’s so hard to not to want to give up. I need prayers – please.

  41. We’ve sold our home and have to be out in 30 days but don’t know where we are going to live yet. The market is moving so quickly. My husband wants me to retire and move to Florida, but I’m afraid right now to give up the security of this when the “where are we going to live” piece is unknown. Please pray for peace and direction for us to let go and let God show up in His timing. I know He won’t leave us homeless.

  42. I need help with my financial situation receiving a loan to finish our renovation project for our handicapped bedroom and bathroom. Thank you ladies for all your prayers and support.

  43. Pray for my family, we have a sick sister Rose, who suffered Tb meningitis. We are praying for a complete healing. Prior to this we lost a brother and a sister. My sister was killed by her husband who later killed himself leaving 3 orphans. I am currently applied to adopt them. Itz been so difficult and sad to experience such losses. And my husband too left in the middle of this turmoil Pray that the Lord comes and establish us once more. It does feels like Martha’s time . “Jesus if you were here my brother and my sister wod ne here.^ Pray for our family as we go through the transition that the Lord will shape a perfect family once again. That he will heal our pain and make iall things new. That He will heal sister Rose, that she wiill live to tell of his goodness. I pray for our fsmily healing, for my children restoration and new beginning. I pray for strength and wisdom as i navigate to support our family. I pray for financial abundance to be able to achieve what is ahead of me, L.ord of mercy hear our prayers in Jesus name i pray..

  44. My children are on drugs. They live with me and I can’t handle it anymore. I hate to throw them out into this ugly world. My heart is torn. Such guilt. I need to know what God wants me to do. I need doors opened.

  45. I need peace and/or wisdom
    To turn this situation around …I get severe anxiety when going to daughters school functions and games…feel so unliked there….God knows all the details…

  46. Lord, thank you for the many blessings you continue to give us daily. We’re both going through a little tough situation due to me losing my job. Despite the hardship Lord we stand together in your name asking for strength, courage, patience, and hope. We trust in You alone Lord, in Jesus Name we pray Amen!

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