by David Sisler

The nurse in the hospital's obstetrics department was checking in a young mother-to-be. “Is this your first baby?” she asked.

“Yes,” she answered calmly.

“Are you having any contractions or pressure?” the nurse continued.

“No,” she stated.

“Are you having any discomfort?”

Again the response was no.

Laying her equipment aside, the nurse asked, “Honey, may I ask you why you are here?”

The look of confident simplicity on the young woman's face was matched by the smile in her voice as she replied, “Today is my due date!”

We smile at that story. In a complicated world, the woman’s uncomplicated faith is heartwarming. Some months earlier her obstetrician had calculated a due date, and with complete trust in her doctor, with no other indications that it was time for her baby to be born, she had checked herself into the hospital on the predicted day.

I think of another woman with that kind of trust. Her home had once been the happiest in town. Although there is no indication she was ever married, she had the love and companionship of her brother and her sister. Her home was the unofficial residence of a visiting teacher whenever he was in town.

The woman’s name was Martha. Her brother was Lazarus. Her sister, Mary. The teacher, of course, was Jesus.

Jesus and His disciples were ministering in another town when word reached them that Lazarus was sick. It is interesting to note that Martha and Mary knew the Lord’s itinerary. They did not have to inquire as to his location. They knew, and they sent word to him.

What the sickness was, we are never told. We do not know how he contracted the disease. We do not know how intense his suffering was, if, indeed, he suffered. We do not know how long he was sick before word was sent to Jesus.

We do know one incredible detail – when Jesus received the message, he did not immediately depart for Bethany. He waited two days. When he finally reached Bethany, Lazarus was dead. In fact, he had been dead four days.

When Martha heard Jesus was in town, she went out to meet him. Her talk with Jesus is a parallel of the woman who entered the hospital because the predicted due-date had arrived. “Lord,” she said, “if you had been her, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you anything you ask.”

“Roll the stone away,” Jesus said. Martha reached out and touched Jesus gently on the arm. There was almost a note of embarrassment in her voice when she said, “Lord, it has been four days since he died. There will be a bad smell.”

Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

Even now? A few moments ago Martha had boldly stated, “Jesus, God will give you anything you ask,” but as the odor of decaying flesh reached her nose, she hesitated. With trembling faith a man once told Jesus, “Lord, I do believe. It is my unbelief which needs your help.”

So, standing in a grave yard, assaulted by the smells of death, Martha saw her faith honored. It is comforting to observe that Jesus honored the high point of Martha’s faith, not the low point – the moment of her doubt.

Right now, engulfed in difficulties, surrounded by more reasons to doubt than to believe, will you dare to trust Jesus?

You aren’t having contractions, there is no pressure. Why are you here? “Today is my due date!” Can you trust Jesus that much?


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Copyright 2001 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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