Letters to Jesus (Contrary Spiritual Notions) - 18
The most salient way I have compared myself to the New Testament character of Martha has been in her busy-ness and concern for “doing.” But there is another way apparent from chapter 11 of John’s gospel that I am like her. She believes but there is an imperfection in her belief and it is this imperfection in allof us that You recognize and are patient with.
Martha greets You and says if You had been present her brother, Lazarus, would not have died. When You say to her that You are the resurrection and the life and ask her if she believes this, she says, “yes.”But a few moments later she says, “Lord, it has been four days now, surely there will be a stench.” Why do we always worry about the stench? What is it about what we fear will offend others that keeps us from perfect belief? In this too I am like Martha.
So many different stenches affect my faith, my trust. There is the stench of selfishness about me that places a “me-first” attitude in front of letting go and just trusting. There is a stench of cynicism about the motives and actions of others that disallows trusting in them. There is a stench about me of arrogance and superiority that fights against humble acceptance of powerlessness where nothing but trust or belief is needed. I know I have concerns over these stenches in a way similar to Martha’s. These concerns themselves undermine belief. This is what You wanted to point out to Martha, and it’s what You want to point out to me. Regardless of this imperfection You loved Martha dearly – and You love me.
If I say “yes, I believe, Lord,” but am overly concerned with my stenches my belief is not perfect. It is not perfect because my concern for them plays against my complete trust that You will overlook them.