Daily Thought For July 29, 2020

St. Martha & The Joy of Coming To Faith

When we first think of St. Martha, we probably remember the story of hardworking Martha and her “contemplative” sister, Mary, who didn’t help her in the kitchen (Luke 10:38-42). Many of us probably have felt sorry for Martha when Jesus rebuked her.

But today, on Martha’s feast day, we read a different story. We don’t see busy Martha, complaining Martha, or worried and anxious Martha. We see steady Martha, who has the confidence to go out to meet Jesus and proclaim her faith in him—even in her grief. Martha has changed.

But how did this happen? She has “come to believe” (John 11:27). And so can we.

Martha’s faith was not a one-time event but a progressive growth in understanding of who Jesus was and what it meant to trust him. In this situation with her brother’s illness and death, Martha’s faith grew gradually as she spoke with Jesus and listened to him carefully. She knew that he was the Savior sent into this world. She trusted that he could heal their ailing brother, but she didn’t understand why Jesus deliberately delayed his coming. So she brought her confusion to him.

Martha knew that Lazarus would rise on the last day, but she wasn’t sure what Jesus might do “even now” (John 11:22). She just wanted to be near him. So Jesus took the opportunity to speak with her, patiently asking questions that helped her to search her heart. And perhaps amazed herself, she was able to say, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe” (11:27). Then she ran to offer her sister the same opportunity.

Our faith develops in the same incremental way. Jesus invites us to trust him. We express the little faith we have: “I do believe, help my unbelief,” and we tell Jesus what we don’t understand (Mark 9:24). Then he leads us little by little to a fuller understanding of who he is.

Don’t be afraid to question Jesus. Tell him what doesn’t make sense to you. Ask what small step he is inviting you to take, and try to be obedient. Then come back and ask again. Little by little, your flicker of faith will grow into a blazing fire.

“Jesus, I have come to believe in you. Help me to take the next step.”

from The Word Among Us (July 29, 2017) 

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