“Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” John 11:1-6 (ESV)
Have you ever wondered why God delays intervention? Perhaps you felt He was holding out on you or doesn’t love you, otherwise He would’ve stepped in and saved the day already. This is exactly what Martha wondered after her brother Lazarus had been dead for four days. But it was exactly what Christ intended.
Right after He heard his friend was very ill, John says that because Jesus loved Lazarus, Jesus waited two more days before going to see him. It sounds like an oxymoron. When someone you love is deathly ill, you go to see him as quickly as possible. But no, Christ had a far greater plan. He knew that if He waited until Lazarus was dead, the glory that would come from the situation would be much greater than if He had healed Lazarus while alive. Christ had a purpose for the delay. It was a marvelous purpose, though appearances deceived others to believe otherwise.
Sometimes we feel that God will give us what we desire or feel we need, because God is all-loving and would never withhold good things from us. Yet we don’t realize that sometimes waiting, suffering, and hardship produces an even better and greater outcome, far beyond what we expect or see with the eye. We cannot see God working behind the scenes, but we know from His Word that His will is best. We must always remember that when God tells us to wait, He does so because He loves us.
Dear Lord, help us to walk by faith and understand your will is much better than ours. Give us the strength to trust in you throughout all circumstances. Amen.
In a journal, record the times in your life when God has pleasantly surprised you with something better than you could have imagined. Reflect back on your entries as a reminder that God’s plan is always best.
For more encouragement on waiting on God’s timing, check out John Piper’s blog post.