One of the most moving accounts of the miracles of Christ is described in the gospel of St. John. There we are made witnesses to the raising of Lazarus from the dead, which occured just before Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem and the events of His passion.
Whenever I read the account of this mighty act of God, I am always struck by a particular detail of the story as St. John was careful to preserve it. Christ was about to show that He was the Lord of life by doing the impossible--by raising the dead. And yet, as St. John observes, He left the easier tasks for others to do. As He was about to raise His friend Lazarus from death, moving the stone from the tomb by a single word would have been no problem. And yet He asked others to do this as well as to remove the shroud when His resurrected friend came out of the tomb.
In this way, He sought to teach us an important lesson. God demands something from those who long for a miracle. The fact is that God will not do for us what we are able to do for ourselves. In the course of our lives many stones will stand in our way, making progress impossible. We must do what we can to solve the problem lest we become presumptuous by asking God's help. He will not roll away the stone from the problems of our life if the solutions are within our own human power. Our part is the one thing that God won't do for us!
In the story of Lazarus, we see this principle perfectly at work. Everyone wanted their beloved friend and brother returned to them. Christ willingly offered to do the impossible, but He insisted that others con tribute their share, that they offer the contribution that was well within their power.
We too, need to do the very best that we can. God is willing to do the rest, but only if we have rolled away every stone that we can. We need to learn that when we pray we need to do it as if everything depends on God; and when we work we need to do it as if everything depends on us.