If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “God, you are taking too long,” you come from a large tribe. I, for one, am very impatient. You know that you are impatient when microwaves, fast food restaurants, and remote controls are too slow for you!
But we must learn that God’s timing, though oftentimes perplexing, is always best. Consider the story found in John 11:1-45. As Lazarus, who was a close friend of Jesus, lay sick and near death, his two sisters, Mary and Martha, sent word to Jesus. Obviously, they wanted Jesus to drop whatever He was doing and rush to Lazarus’ side.
However, after receiving the news that Lazarus was gravely ill, Jesus remained where He was for the next two days. Rather than rush to help Lazarus, Jesus’ reaction to the news was simply, “This sickness will not end in death. It is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” It was only after the two days had passed that Jesus said to His disciples, “Lazarus is dead.”
By the time that Jesus arrived at Lazarus’ home, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Apparently, he had died shortly after that messenger had been dispatched to Jesus. It had taken the messenger a day to get to Jesus, and it had taken Jesus a day to get to Lazarus. Add in the two days of delay and you get four days in the tomb. I’ve read that the Jews believed that the spirit hovered near the body for three days and then departed. So, with Lazarus being in the tomb for four days, it seemed that even Jesus wouldn’t be able to do anything to remedy the situation.
Understandably, Mary and Martha were angry and disappointed with Jesus. On separate occasions, each of them uttered the same line: “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” To be fair, Martha did add in a touch of faith to her complaint by saying, “But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give You.” That seems to indicate that she still wanted to believe that Jesus could do something miraculous.
And, of course, He did. He went out to the tomb and, with many onlookers in attendance, raised Lazarus from the dead. When Lazarus came out of that cave still loosely wrapped in burial cloths, Jesus said to some of those people, “Loose him and let him go.” I wonder who volunteered for that job. How would you like to unwrap a mummy?
Then, just when we think the story can’t get any better, we get the payoff. John 11:45 says: Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in him.” You see, just as Jesus gave physical life to Lazarus that day, He gave spiritual life to all those new believers. That two-day wait of His had set the stage for a prolific evangelistic harvest.
This story should teach us that if God delays doing something, He has a good reason for the delay. He doesn’t make us wait just so He can watch us squirm, and He’s not toying with us like puppets on a string. No, He’s always up to something bigger and better. So, if He currently has you in the midst of a delay, make yourself be patient. Keep your faith high that He hasn’t forgotten about your situation, and just let Him work things out not only in His will but in His timing. The fact is, you just never know what miracle, either physical or spiritual, He might have in mind.