The thing I love the most about The Bible is that no matter how many times you’ve read a passage, you get something different from it each time. Being raised in the church, I have probably heard the story of Lazarus a million and one times before. For so long, I thought this story was merely about a man who was raised from the dead. But as I was reading this story recently, God showed me something so powerful and I had to share. It’s always interesting to see how God will reveal certain things to you at different points in your walk with Him to help you grow. The part that really spoke to me was that it wasn’t necessarily the fact that Jesus was able to raise Lazarus from the dead, but the action He took (or didn’t take) when He heard about it. This story comes from John 11: 1-43.
So let’s dig in.
At the beginning of this passage, it tells us that both Mary and Martha were friends of Jesus and that He loved them very dearly. In fact, it was Mary who had anointed His feet with fragrant oils and wiped them with her hair. So that let’s us know that there was a relationship between them that had already been established. The passage goes on to tell us that Mary and Martha came to Jesus letting Him know their brother, Lazarus, had fallen sick. “Lord, the one You love is sick.”(John 11:3) Jesus replied by saying, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4)
Now when you read this, you would expect that Jesus would immediately jump up and run to Lazarus to heal him and save him from death. But, that’s not what happens at all.
5Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. -John 11:5,6
When I read this story before, I never noticed that Jesus waited for two days after hearing about Lazarus being sick. I can only imagine how Mary and Martha felt when there was a delay in Jesus’ reaction. Honestly, I was a little confused to say the least. (I literally wrote like 3 question marks in my bible tehe) Jesus was very close with Mary and Martha and the passage even states that He loved them. How could He have the ability to save two people whom He loved from sorrow and pain, but instead, do nothing? As I continued to think on this, I thought about my own life and all the times He’s forced me to wait. Even now as I am 23 days away from graduation, I believe God is putting a delay on my requests just to test my faith. I’ve prayed and expressed the desires of my heart but yet, He remains silent. So many times, we, as Christians, expect that when we pray, God will answer us immediately. But we often don’t realize that by His delay, He is testing our faith to see if we will trust Him while He forces us to wait. Let’s continue…
17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you. -John 11: 17-22
How many times has something fallen apart in your life and you go to God saying, “Lord, if you would’ve fixed it when I cried out to you I wouldn’t be in this mess!” I surely have. When things don’t go as we had originally planned and God seems like He has stepped off the scene, how long will it be before we complain that He has forgotten us? In Deuteronomy, Moses tells us that God will never leave us or forsake us. That means even when we feel alone and forgotten, we must know that we are still in His presence. While I was reading this, I continuously kept asking God, “Lord, why did you wait?!?!” Immediately, just a couple chapters over, John 13:7 popped into my head. “You don’t understand what I am doing now, but later, you will understand.”
SO WHY DID HE WAIT?
Truth is, sometimes God allows things to get to the worst possible point before He steps in. Sometimes He isn’t so quick to come and rescue us because He’s allowing the suffering to strengthen us. All so that He can get the glory in the end. He has to let certain things in our lives die to remind us of the power that He holds. You’ll never know God to be a healer if you’ve never been sick. You’ll never be able to claim God as your deliverer if He hasn’t allowed you to be burdened by some things. Trusting God in His silence is building up your faith. Mary and Martha had asked Jesus to come, and for reasons they could not understand He had delayed. Jesus gave the sisters no explanation of his timing but showed that He had a reason: to demonstrate His power.
I’m not even sure why I decided to share this after having read this passage so long ago, but maybe it was for someone. Honestly, it was probably for me. My prayer is that after reading this, you understand what God is allowing to happen to you in the waiting room.
When you call out to Him and there’s a delay, understand that He’s not ignoring you, but strengthening you and reminding you just how powerful He is.
Wait patiently and be obedient to His process. Journey wisely ❤️