In the first article in this series, we explored the questions that God’s sovereignty may leave us with. God’s judgments are unsearchable. His ways are unfathomable. Yet this comforting truth can also be confusing. We can be left asking questions like, “why?”, “what if?”, and “how long?” We concluded with the fruit that is harvested in the midst of confusion, namely, spiritual growth.
Let’s resume with an exploration into the ways that faith responds in the midst of uncertainty.
How Does Faith Respond to Confusion?
What does faith look like in the midst of perplexity? How does faith respond after we ask God, “why?” and wonder, “how long?” Martha’s response to Jesus grants us insight to the answer. “Martha…said…‘Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You’” (John 11:22).
On the surface it might seem that Martha was asking, and maybe even expecting, Jesus to resurrect her brother. That was not Martha’s intent. We know based on Martha’s response when Jesus commanded her to remove the stone from Lazarus’ tomb. “Martha…said to Him, ‘Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days’” (John 11:39). Martha was not expecting Jesus to perform a resurrection miracle. She thought Lazarus would resurrect “on the last day” (John 11:24), but not today.
Martha’s statement, “Even now, I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You,” are words of faithful submission—how faith responds—when the clouds of confusion darken a believer’s world.
Faith Finds Confidence in Christ’s Perfect Intercession
First, when confused, faith finds confidence in Christ’s perfect intercession. “Whatever You ask, God will give” (John 11:22, emphasis added).
Though confounded by Jesus’ ways, Martha clung to the intimacy Christ shares with His Father and the interceding care He has for His people. She trusted that the Father always granted His Son’s requests. Whatever Jesus decided to ask on Martha’s behalf, she was sure He would receive it. And this was not just Martha’s opinion. Jesus Himself claimed this same interceding success in v. 42. With full assurance, Jesus said, “I knew that You always hear Me” (John 11:42)—“hear Me” in the sense of always agreeing with My prayers, always granting My petitions.
This is astounding! Every prayer Jesus offers is always heeded by His Father. Every request Jesus makes always comes to fruition. Astounding. This cannot be said about anyone. With everyone else, there is always the potential that sin will hinder their prayers (Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:2; James 4:3).
For Jesus, unanswered prayer is never a possibility. Never is there a sin barrier that exists between Him and His Father. Never will the Father turn a deaf ear to His Son. All of Jesus’ requests for us are secure.
Though Martha was confused why Jesus did not answer her prayer for Lazarus’ healing, she knew that the Father would not deny His Son’s prayer for her.
When we are tempted to wonder why the Lord seems far off, remember that Jesus is praying for you. You have not been forsaken. The Lord has not hidden Himself from you. Far from it! In Christ, you are standing before the Father’s throne, represented by the sinless Son “who always lives to make intercession for [you]” (Hebrews 7:25). Though confused, remember Christ is presenting your name and your need before His Father. Though mystified, remember His praying mercies. “We cannot afford to be ignorant of his intercession and the value of it for our souls, especially at those times when we feel perplexed by the trials and tribulations of this present evil age. As Scottish Presbyterian Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-43) once famously said, ‘If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet the distance makes no difference; he is praying for me.’”
Faith Finds Comfort in Christ’s Infinite Wisdom
Second, when confused, faith finds comfort in Christ’s infinite wisdom—knowing that Christ only asks His Father for what is best.
“Martha said to Him, ‘Whatever You ask’” (John 11:22, emphasis added). Martha is not telling Jesus how He should pray. She is not telling Him what He should ask. She is not standing as His counsellor, offering Him her opinions. She recognizes her limitations and leaves the intercession to Jesus. You know what we need most, Jesus. And I trust that whatever You ask from Your Father will be for our greatest good.
When puzzled by God’s ways, faith finds comfort in Christ’s infinite wisdom. He knows His Father’s perfect will for His children. And Christ will never ask for more than what His Father has promised to deliver.
Faith Finds Certainty in God’s Sovereign Power
Third, in the mire of confusion, faith finds certainty in God’s sovereign power. Faith is sure that everything, even that which unsettles our soul, occurs within of God’s sovereign design. Martha’s “whatever” is in the plural. However big your request might be, Jesus; whatever details may be involved, whatever it will take to accomplish what You ask; I am trusting that whatever you bring before Your Father’s throne on my behalf, “God will give You.” Martha is resting on the Father’s omnipotence, sovereignty, and power.
For three days, Martha wondered like Job, “Why do You hide Your face and consider me Your enemy?” (Job 13:24). For three days, she asked like the Psalmist, “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?” (Psalm 13:1) For three days, she stared at her brother’ tomb in tears and disbelief. For three days, she wondered why Jesus’ promise failed.
But now, Martha confesses her sovereign Lord’s control. Whatever Jesus asks His Father to do, it will be done.
Calm and Confused
Confusion is unnerving. Chaos; upsetting and uncomfortable. Yet, the Christian need not fear. There is a spiritual calmness available for God’s children. Peace, not based upon the certainty of the moment, but based upon the steadfastness of our Lord.
Though sorrowful, Martha did not lash out in anger when Jesus arrived. Though puzzled, she did not berate Him or question His decisions. She did not stand as His counselor. She accused Jesus of no wrong. She spoke with no bitterness and harbored no resentment. Rather, in faith, Martha chose calmness in the midst of chaos—and so can we.
Confused, yet calm—because our Savior never ceases to intercede on our behalf. Confused, yet calm—because our Lord always asks for what is good and loving. Confused, yet calm—because in the Lord’s wisdom, He sovereignly allows only that which will shine His glory most bright. Confused, yet calm—because our Father’s ways are unsearchable and unfathomable. Confused, yet calm—because “to Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).
 Mark Jones, Knowing Christ (Edinburg: Banner of Truth Trust, 2015), 179.