Share: A moment from today when you felt close to God, and a moment when you felt far from God.
Read: John 11.17-21, 32-35
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. … When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus began to weep.
Discuss: Have there been times when you wondered where God was? Have you ever said “Lord, if you had been here…”? What did that feel like? What happened in your spiritual life in those moments? Have you experienced God’s presence since then?
Wonder: Notice that Martha and Mary both go to Jesus with their pain, and don’t hold back their feelings (anger, sadness, grief, frustration). Jesus response is to stand with them, even in the middle of the road. Imagine yourself standing in the middle of the road, with Jesus next to you. How does it feel to have him there with you, even if you don’t know what’s going to happen?
Pray: Set a timer for two minutes, and then on a piece of paper, write out any questions, anger, frustration, sadness, grief, or any other feeling you have. Don’t worry, God can handle it, so be honestly in touch with the hard parts of life right now. At the end of two minutes, read your paper like a prayer: start with “Dear God,” and when you come to the end of the list, picture Jesus sitting beside you, “deeply moved.” End your prayer with a simple word: “please.”