So he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead. And for your sakes, I'm glad I wasn't there, for now you will really believe. Come, let's go see him." John 11:14-15
When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died."
When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. John 11:32-33
Jesus responded, "Didn't I tell you that you would see God's glory if you believe?" So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, "Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me." John 11:40-42
The person in charge of running the meeting was missing in action. No text message, phone call, or email letting us know about his whereabouts. With every minute that ticked off with him still being a no-show, the conversation turned into the legendary college debate. How long do we wait on him to make an appearance before we're allowed to leave with no fault on our part? 10 minutes? 15? 20? Frustration began to set in because time is a precious commodity and we were wasting it sitting around, twiddling our thumbs.
Eventually, our fearless leader strolled into the office and apologized, stating something about writing the wrong time down in his day planner. Being on different pages time-wise leads to frustration. When someone doesn't show up as expected, you begin to question what they're up to and the reasons for their absence. You feel dismissed and wonder whether the other person views you as valuable, relevant, and worthy of their attention.
Doesn't that also describe our emotions and thoughts when God seems absent from our circumstances? At one point or another, we've all questioned God's timing. He seems distant and aloof. He doesn't show up when we need Him. He fails to intervene in a situation. And we're left scratching our heads and wondering, "WHY?"
Not only can you take solace in the fact many of your friends and family have found themselves in a similar spot, when you read scripture, you encounter stories of individuals wrestling with the same questions. Mary and Martha were at the end of their rope as they watched their brother Lazarus become deathly ill. They reached out to their close friend Jesus for assistance. If anyone could help or perform a miracle, it would be Jesus.
They figured as soon as Jesus got the news, He would rush to Lazarus' bedside. But, instead of making a B-line to their home, Jesus did something peculiar. He stayed put. He didn't move. He continued to go about His business.
With every minute that passed, an internal wrestling match took place in both Mary and Martha. And as they witnessed Lazarus pass, their tears were met with frustration, cynicism, and doubt. Why would Jesus wait? Did He not care about then and their pain?
Two days later, Jesus arrives on the scene. Too little too late. Or was it? Jesus heart went out to the people hurting, but it also sunk witnessing so many people possessing a limited understanding of His power and ability. And, as they rolled the stone away and Lazarus took his first step out of the grave, we understand the reason for the delay: "so that they will believe you sent me."
We have to remember our thoughts aren't His thoughts. God's ways are above our own. His timing is perfect, regardless of whether our limited perspective can wrap our mind around it. God utilizes every and any situation to bring Himself glory while building trust within us. No matter what circumstances you are facing, regardless of how dead they might appear, God can breathe life into it.
When have you doubted God's timing? What caused you to question His involvement in your situation? What did you learn through this encounter?
Is there a place right now where you are questioning God's plan or timing in a situation? What would it look like for you to surrender your circumstances to Him? How could trusting God's timing change your thoughts and attitude toward what you're facing?
God, I will trust, even when I want to question. I will display faith, even when I have to urge to take over. I will walk in obedience, even when I'm unsure of my next step. I do all of this because I know You are faithful. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.