I read a book a while ago called, Where Is God When Bad Things Happen? Written by Luis Palau. As you can imagine from the title, the author talks about the traumas and tragedies that you and I experience in life, and why God seems to allow them. Where was God? What was God doing? What is God doing? That’s what Martha and Mary were wondering in this story, and probably Jesus’s disciples, too.
Faced with the same evidence, some were moved to belief, and some were hardened in unbelief. And yet God’s purpose for Messiah still advanced. Even with free will, no person can alter God’s divine plan. As one commentator put it, Nothing people can do will thwart or alter the sovereign will of God, and nothing God does ever sets aside the free choice of people.
[In the Greek] Though Martha’s voice had leaned more heavily on the final catastrophe of death itself, Mary spoke from the devastation of personal betrayal, her voice leaning on the connection of her brother, the unspoken meaning clear: you said you loved me, and he was my brother.
Jesus had received a message from Mary and Marth of Bethany, Lazarus was gravely ill. But rather than come to them, Jesus sent word back that Lazarus’ illness was not to death but to God’s glory.