Where Is Jesus When Tragedy Strikes?

Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday morning, Feb. 17, 2002, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia. 


By Michael D. O’Neal                      Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church                      Albany, Georgia

Scripture Reading: John 11:11-27

Text: John 11:21

John 11:21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

Introduction: The people mentioned in our scripture reading today, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, were people whom the Lord Jesus Christ loved very much. They were not His enemies; they were very special to Him and precious. However, tragedy struck in their home. Lazarus became deathly sick. Mary and Martha immediately sent word to Jesus, the Great Physician. However, the Lord did not come to their house that day. He did not arrive the next day. I’m sure that Mary and Martha prayed. I’m sure that they watched every day for Jesus, who worked wondrous miracles, to come to their house and heal Lazarus of his illness. However, when Jesus did get to their house, Lazarus was already dead.

Sometimes it looks like good things happen to bad people. In those times, we need to remember that the closest that they will come to heaven is in this life. They have sacrificed the eternal for the temporary.

At other times it is obvious that bad things happen to those who have been made righteous through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. People who love the Lord still go to the hospital. They still lose loved ones in car accidents. They still die of heart attacks. They still have family members involved in scandal. They still experience burglaries. They still have children who are born with disabilities. They still miscarry and lose children at birth.

In times of tragedy, we who are saved, although we know that we are God’s children and are going to heaven, may have doubts and questions about God’s watchcare over us. We may have the same feeling Martha expressed in our text:

John 11:21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

Perhaps we ask the question which is the title of this morning’s message: “Where is Jesus when tragedy strikes?”

I want to answer that from the word of God.

Where is Jesus when tragedy strikes?


Psalms 125:2 As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.

Acts 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

A. He is waiting to hear from you

  • When his prophet’s mentor left him, Elisha wondered if he was going to have the special help from God that he had requested.
  • 2 Kings 2:14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.
  • Where was the Lord God of Elijah? He was in heaven, just waiting for Elisha to call upon Him.

B. He is waiting to help you

  • The Lord may not give you what you want, but He will give you what you need.
  • He is able to give you the help needed to bear your burden.

C. He is waiting to honor God the Father through you in a special way

  • If you will think about it prayerfully, you will see that God is honored more when we persevere through tragedies than when we succeed as people expect we should.

Where is Jesus when tragedy strikes?


John 11:Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

A. He is aware of your situation

B. He is aware of your sorrows

  • The shortest verse in the Bible is found in this chapter:
  • John 11:35 Jesus wept.
  • There are several possible explanations of why Jesus wept. I think that He wept because THEY wept.
  • Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

C. He is aware of the solution

  • Jesus knew what He was going to do about Lazarus.
  • God is not dismayed when tragedies occur. He knows what He is going to do.
  • God knows how to get you through your darkest hour.

Where is Jesus when tragedy strikes?


Psalms 121:4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

A. He is working in heaven

  • He makes intercession for us.
  • He works from the throne of God.

B. He is working in hearts

  • He is working in the hearts of the ones going through the trouble.
  • He is working in the hearts of those who will come to assist.
  • He is working in the hearts of those who watch. People who watch the perseverance of the people going through trouble have their own hearts stirred. People who watch the sacrificial labor of helpers have their own hearts stirred.

Where is Jesus when tragedy strikes?


John 11:43-44 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

A. Jesus is able to resurrect those who are dead

B. Jesus is able to refresh those who are dried up

C. Jesus is able to revive those who are discouraged

D. Jesus is able to redirect those who are disillusioned

Jesus will take your stumbling blocks and turn them into stepping stones, if you will let Him.

Maybe your tragedy came so that you will see that you need to trust Christ and be saved. Maybe you needed to be shaken loose from your worldly security.

Maybe your troubles came so that you who ARE saved would see your need to dedicate your life to serving Him. Many saved people are not active church members, they are not looking for ways to serve the Lord, and they are spending their lives trying to be happy.

Happiness doesn’t come to those who look for it; it is a by-product of serving the Lord and others in His name.

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