Where were you? That is what she [Martha] saying. We needed you! We called you! Is this the way you treat the people you love? The people who love you?
It is a question, I would suggest, or series of questions that we have all asked. Or want to. Some are afraid to admit it, that they have barked at heaven in such a way or have bitten their tongues so they wouldn't. And so maybe they kept it in, didn't say it out loud, think it impious irreligious, unfaithful or blasphemous.
To pray in such a way is none of those things, though, and we are not the first to offer such indictments. Part of faith is honesty, and honestly, lots of us, lots of times, in lots of different ways, have said as much to Jesus as Martha says here: Where were you? (Steagald, 110)
Scripture: John 11:17-21 (CEB)
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was a little less than two miles from Jerusalem. Many Jews had come to comfort Martha and Mary after their brother’s death. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him, while Mary remained in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.
While I am not personally convinced that Martha and Mary were so angry with Jesus for not coming as soon as he heard of Lazarus's illness, I am in agreement with our Lenten writer that honesty is a part of our faith journey. Of course, I have been told before that one should not question God. But then Jesus himself questioned "why" while hanging on the cross. Our questions about our faith, about where God is at times, come from honest and open hearts. And I believe that God wants to hear these honest questions. We may ask why: Why something happened or did not happen. We may ask where: where are you when I need you? Truthfully, we don't always even get the answers to those questions, but hopefully, through our honesty with ourselves and with God, we can find ourselves growing in our faith. Because I believe that when we simply put those questions out there, it enables us to begin the process of healing and finding hope and believing that God sees us in our struggles and will not let them get the better of us.