Waiting On God
John 11:4 But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
John 11:5 Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus,
John 11:6 after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
Jesus had gotten word that Lazarus was very ill and he loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus very much. Instead of rushing to their side and curing Lazarus before he died, Jesus waits two more days before going to see them. When Jesus does finally arrive the family is grief-stricken. They had faith to believe that Jesus could have done something about Lazarus’ illness but, in their minds, he didn’t come in time. Jesus is touched by their grief and being overcome, weeps with them.
But Jesus had said that this illness was not to lead to death, but rather was to glorify God. Everything that Jesus did pointed toward the Father and to him being glorified through every single miracle. This raising of Lazarus from the dead is a foreshadowing of what was to come — Jesus’ resurrection. The message here is much larger than simply raising one man from the dead, it is new life for all of humanity!
Do you ever feel like God is taking a long time answering prayer? Does the extended time waiting for him seem to stretch out like an eternity — and one that leads to times of tears and weeping? There is so much that we really don’t understand about the ways of God. Jesus knew that everything he did was to glorify God. Our lives are also ones in which God is to be glorified.
Jesus trusted his relationship with Mary and Martha enough that he knew that they could be a part of this miracle of God. Notice, they are disappointed when he arrives, but they have not discarded him or their personal relationship. He is still their friend and they still trust him. Martha and Mary openly allow him to share in their grief — he is their friend. But they had also had a preconceived notion about how God would and/or should have answered that prayer. Jesus should have come sooner! Lazarus wouldn’t have died, if only Jesus had come.
How often do we argue with God, letting him know that he got the plan wrong! If only he had responded sooner, and if only he had answered my prayer the way I wanted him to. And honestly, there are times when disappointment comes — and we weep. The answer, or seemingly, lack there of, breaks our heart.
The disappointments of life will come and because we live in a fallen world, not everything will turn out the way we may like. At the same time, there may simply be occasions when we need to wait on God. His plans to be glorified may be greater than anything we can even begin to imagine. Lazarus’ resurrection is recorded for all history. Would the story of his healing from an illness have even made the record books? Jesus’ victory over death was to become a reality for all of humanity and we were to begin to see this in Lazarus’ resurrection. What might God want to be revealing through his activity in our lives?
I’m afraid that too often we are not patient with God — not wanting or allowing him to have the time to work out his plan. His ways are far beyond our comprehension. Mary and Martha did not anticipate Lazarus being raised from the dead. Maybe we need to trust God — and wait on him to do what he needs to do so that he will be glorified in all things.
Lord, may you be glorified this day. Amen.