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 come to the rescue. He would not disappoint those He loved.
But Jesus didn’t come. He 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. Even Jesus said so (Jn. 11:14-15).
For me, the discomfort of being misunderstood ranks up there with not wanting to disappoint. Jesus wasn’t calloused to their feelings (see John 11:33-38). But He followed a more noble guide.
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. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, but He allowed them to suffer in the meantime. 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 Click To Tweet
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 about me and my needs, this story encourages me to hang on in faith. 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.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 Click To Tweet
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.