Where are you? Why don’t you come? I don’t like waiting! Hurry up! AHHHH!!!!
This real life scene hits replay a lot in my world. With me, there is usually a delay in leaving, getting to, and following through. So you could say I am always late. I try to be on time, but most times I fail. Here’s my conundrum … I hate to make people wait, yet, I am usually late.
In John 11, the story of the death of Lazarus, it seems as if Jesus was late. Upon hearing that Lazarus was sick, Jesus stayed where he was for two more days. Mary and Martha had sent word that their brother was seriously ill. He was literally on death’s door, and they sought the only One who could help. When Jesus got the news he waited, he delayed.
Can you picture what their wait would have been like? Mary and Martha, desperate for a medical miracle, sent for Jesus to come ASAP. They took turns sitting by Lazarus’ bedside. One would sit and the other would go outside the house and watch for their Master’s silhouette, secretly wishing, hoping and praying that Jesus would come. Please Jesus, come heal our brother. That was their constant prayer. But as Martha was straining to see in the distance, the road was empty, the horizon blank.
Suddenly, there was a loud cry from the inner room and Martha knew in her heart her brother was dead. Mary and Martha fell into each other’s arms and into the comfort of their friends. They had come face to face with some unanswered questions.
I can’t help but be moved by this story because I too have unanswered questions. There have been so many questions and for so long that I have stopped asking God. I simply don’t ask. I found that by making my list of “why’s” it has fostered unbelief in my heart. That’s doubt, that’s not faith. Then disappointment builds.
When Jesus finally arrived, after Lazarus had been dead four days, Martha’s response is one true and simple faith. She runs to meet him and instead of declaring his late arrival, she declares her trust. She pours out her raw, painful emotions through her tear-filled eyes and says, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
In the midst of her pain and sorrow, she abandoned her will to her Master. She trusted Him to bring good out of her pain. In her grief, we can all learn a heart lesson. In time of testing, in the trials, in the dark days of the difficult, we can trust God to know that he is working out the best for us. That translates our faith to trust that God knows what is best for us. When we submit to Him, even in delays, in His waiting rooms, we can trust that His purpose will be accomplished and His name will be glorified.
There are three truths that emerge from Lazarus’ tomb:
- Times of testing are a measure of God’s love for us.
- God is for us and He is always looking after my good.
- God is faithful and sovereign.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~Romans 8:28
When life hits us blind-sided with circumstances beyond our control, with the “why” questions, and with the delays, I can trust God for His best. Even in the dark and long hallways that lead to life’s pain. Yes, even there in God’s waiting rooms, I trust.