Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:39-40)
Martha must have been confused and conflicted. She knew Jesus was different, that He could do what was impossible for others, but to raise the dead seemed one step too far into impossibility. When Jesus asked for the stone to be removed, she could only consider the stench, the uncleanness her brother’s corpse. She refused to subject Jesus or the other’s present contact with such an odiferous assault. She was trying to protect them. She did not realize that Jesus came to touch what was unclean and make it clean. He came to touch death that it might never touch us in the same way.
We have all had clients that, to put it bluntly, felt dead on arrival. Whether it was their enslavement to an addiction, a moral failure of epic proportions, a character of stone-cold stubbornness, or a marriage held together by band-aids draped on gaping relational wounds, we have all sat in our counseling chair and thought this is hopeless. And to be honest, that thought holds a line of truth within it: It is always hopeless unless Christ does what only He can do.
The hopelessness we and our clients feel can be a gift. It can remind us of truths that we so easily discard in times of comfort and ease. We are helpless on our own. We are dead apart from Christ. We are lost without Him. And yet He loves us. He rescues us. He pursues us and calls us home. Though we may in various ways try to roll the stone over the tomb of our hopes, Jesus lovingly removes it and calls us forth.
Because of Christ, in every and all situations we have hope. Jesus has never met a problem He could not solve, and He never will. Often His solutions are unexpected and not according to our design, but they all lead towards our good and growth in Him. So may we trust even when facing circumstances of the bleakest nature that Jesus is able to do what we cannot. Remember hope cannot die because, one time, it already did and even death could not stop our true hope from rising again.