Notice that Jesus does not stop at reporting Lazarus’ death to the disciples in John 11:14, but continues on in v.15—and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there. This must have been downright shocking to their ears as they are initially dealing with the grief of their friend’s death—Lazarus is dead and I rejoice…What????

Our first inclination might be that he is obtuse to the anguish of the occasion.  You could imagine the disciples saying something like this: “Jesus, Lazarus and his sisters are dear to us.  Why would you do this?  Don’t you care about them?”  Well, that is completely unfounded since the passage has already affirmed his love for Lazarus multiple times and Jesus will be moved to weeping upon arriving to the tomb later on.

We can gain clarity by noting that the verse doesn’t end there. Jesus is not rejoicing BECAUSE Lazarus is dead. He is rejoicing for them that he was not there BECAUSE that would have been a detriment to their faith. How so? The obvious implication is that believing in Christ is the best possible outcome and also if Jesus had acted sooner, then Lazarus would have been prevented from death and there’s something about what Jesus is going to do in the awakening of Lazarus that will have a massive positive impact on their faith.

Nevertheless, there is great difficulty in getting our hearts in line with this how God operates in this way-“Lord, you’re going to allow suffering, grief and even death to strengthen my faith?  I have to go through emotional pain, hardship and loss to trust in you in greater ways?”  

Yes, or do we think there is a better way and that the Lord is either incapable or unwilling to make that better way happen? This outcome of stronger faith is precisely what James teaches in James 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

His ways might be confounding, but they are perfectly intended and accomplished.