Not only did Jesus not make it to the deathbed of Lazarus, he didn’t make it to the burial. He was four days late. Martha was forthright. “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). Martha was to Jesus what your hurting friend is to you. How can we respond when our friend is undone?
Well here’s what Jesus did – he looked Martha in the face and said these starchy words: “I am the resurrection and the life…Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26). The Bible’s word for such a response is admonishment. Above all, admonishment is truth spoken into a difficult circumstance. Yes, we hold the hand of the struggler. And yes, yes, yes, we speak words of truth into moments of despair. This is how happiness happens.