When I Feel Forgotten by Jesus

by | Jan 8, 2019 | Faith, Grief, Hope, Pain | 19 comments

My standard poodles’ big brown eyes melted my resolve. “Ok. You can go with me.”

Immediately Max’s fluffy tail thumped excitedly. His sister pranced with anticipation. And I smiled.

I hate to disappoint pooches and people. Especially, my poodles and my people. That’s why Jesus’ actions in John 11 astound me.

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days” (Jn. 11:5-6 NIV).

Without divine intervention, Lazarus would die. Jesus had the power to heal. Lazarus’ sisters sent an urgent message to Jesus,

Lord, the one you love is sick”(Jn. 11:3 emphasis added).

Jesus was a personal friend. Surely, He would rush to the rescue. He would not disappoint those He loved.

But Jesus waited.

Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus—so—He waited??? That doesn’t compute.

After Lazarus had been in the tomb four days, Jesus finally arrived. Jewish tradition held that the spirit left the body within four days. Lazarus was gone.

Confusion complicated Martha and Mary’s grief.

  • “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died”(vs. 21).
  • Mary fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died”(vs. 32).
  • Even their friends were confused,But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’”(vs. 37).

And they were right. Lazarus wouldn’t have died if Jesus had been there. Jesus even said so (Jn. 11:14-15).

For me, being misunderstood ranks up there with not wanting to disappoint. Jesus wasn’t calloused to their feelings (see John 11:33-38). But He was willing to be misunderstood to bring about a greater good.

He allowed Lazarus to feel forsaken on his deathbed, Mary and Martha to feel forgotten in their grief, and the villagers to question His love for His friends because He knew the benefit outweighed the discomfort.

So, why did He wait?

He waited because He wanted them to experience something better than temporary relief. He wanted them to gain unshakable faith.

Jesus waited because He wanted them to experience something better than temporary relief. #hope, #faith Share on X

No one doubted Jesus could heal. But no one had ever raised someone who’d been dead four days.

Has Jesus’ timing ever disappointed you? What answer are you still waiting for? What “no” causes you pain and confusion?

Take heart from Jesus’ delay.

Listen to why He waited (underlining added).

  • “It is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it” (Jn. 11:4 NIV).
  • “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him” (Jn. 11:14-15 NIV).
  • “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (Jn. 11:25 NIV).
  • “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”…“Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me” (Jn. 11:40-42 NIV).
  • “Therefore many of the Jews who…had seen what Jesus did, believed in him” (Jn. 11:45 NIV).

When it looks like Jesus has forgotten me and my needs, this story encourages me to hang on in faith. Stretching my faith is more important my comfort. It’s how we come to know God is bigger and better than we can imagine.

Stretching my faith is more important than protecting my comfort. It's how we come to know God is bigger and better than we can imagine. #believe, #trust Share on X

Let’s allow Jesus to smash the boxes we’ve confined Him too. Let’s not lose heart when He delays. Our problems are opportunities to build faith and bring God glory.

Dear Father, Your will and Your ways are always better than mine. Feel free to tell me “no” when You have a better plan.

CommentWhen has a temporary “no” turned into a better “yes” for you?



Sometimes I link with these great sites:

Tea &Word Tuesday, #Kelly Balarie & Friends#Recharge Wednesday, #Coffee for Your Heart, #TuneinThursaday, #HeartEncouragment #Dance with Jesus, #Grace and Truth, #FreshMarketFriday

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  1. Ann Musico

    So much truth here Debbie. The biggest example in my life is my husband. If I had married one of the other men I had been serious with and wanted to marry I’m sure I wouldn’t still be married and of course wouldn’t have the family I have now. I waited longer than I wanted to but His plan was definitely better!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, that is a beautiful example and I’m sure an inspiration to those still waiting!

  2. Valerie Murray

    What an encouraging message! God’s timetable is often so different than my own. He keeps showing me that the process is just as important and valuable as the result or outcome.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Valerie. You highlighted an important truth—the process matters and impacts the results.

  3. Katrina Hamel

    This is a great story to remind us that God has a plan for our suffering. Thanks for putting it together so well!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Katrina, I agree. One to remember.

  4. Bill Smith

    Hello Debbie,

    I am so thankful in receiving your messages. It seems they arrive at a perfect time with a perfect answer.

    God bless you.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Bill. Glory to God!

  5. Melissa Henderson

    Many times God has answered my prayers with “no”. I have learned many lessons from those answers. I may not have known why the answer was “no” but I could be assured that God always has a plan and His plan is best. Years ago, hubby and I thought we would purchase a second home, a beach house. After looking at many homes, we could not find the right one, so we decided to wait and look again later. God knew what would happen in our lives. Hubby’s job changed and income was decreased. We would not have been able to afford a second home. We are so thankful God was holding us in His arms and guiding us with the answer of “no” to a second home.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Melissa, what a precious story of protection and grace that you were able to appreciate the “no.” That we would always trust Him.

  6. Melanie Shull

    Learning to hear and to say, “No,” is a hard life lesson. But “No” can be one of the greatest words ever heard. I love how you brought this lesson to life with Jesus’ response to the death of His dear friend. His waiting on the Father’s timing was proven to be a spectacular moment in Jesus’ ministry and for those who were there to witness the glory of God. Several answers of “No” in my own life have been some of the sweetest answers ever. Thank you, Debbie, for this reminder.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Melanie, for encouraging us with your experience. “Several answers of “No” in my own life have been some of the sweetest answers ever.”

  7. Michele Morin

    Disappointment and doubt always extinguish hope. Thanks for re-telling this story as a reminder that when I perceive that I’ve been forgotten (or that God can’t be trusted), it’s my perception that needs adjusting, not my resolve to trust God.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Well said, Michele! Bless you, my friend.

  8. Lauren Sparks

    He wanted them to experience unshakeable faith. And stretching my faith is more important that protecting my comfort. Oh, how relevant these words are to me right now. I have shared this on FB. laurensparks.net

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Lauren. I glad it resonated. May we share His values!

  9. Julie Lavender

    I love this part: “He waited because He wanted them to experience something better than temporary relief. He wanted them to gain unshakable faith.” That’s powerful words, Debbie. Now, if I can just remember them the next time I don’t get that instant gratification that I’m expecting …..! God’s yeses are always worth the wait, aren’t they? Even though it may not seem like it at the time!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes, Julie. But o how quickly I forget!

  10. Dana Remisovsky

    This is such a wonderful blog that I needed to hear. I’ve definitely been feeling extremely disappointed lately and like my prayers fall on deaf ears. This was so encouraging to me. Thank you.

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