Wednesday, October 06, 2010

"Didn't I tell you?"

Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”  Martha, the sister of the deceased,  replied, “Lord, by this time the body will have a bad smell,  because he has been buried  four days.” Jesus responded,  “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you would see the glory of God? - John 11:39-40

We don't have to walk with the Lord very long before we realize that His timetable varies quite significantly from ours. We think that something clearly needs to be done NOW; he recognizes that in the bigger picture, the greater glory comes from waiting.

Mary and Martha, as well as the disciples, learned this lesson dramatically when Lazarus fell ill. Jesus didn't immediately go heal him. He didn't just say the word that could bring healing without even traveling to him. Instead, he waited until Lazarus had been dead 4 days. It was, from a human perspective, too late. But Jesus had a bigger purpose - a revelation that He is the resurrection and the life. A lesson that can be learned only after a death.

Most of us have heard sermons or read devotionals from this passage. It's one of the most popular passages, with good reason. It's one of those that can be hard to read for new insights, because it's so familiar that we anticipate the verses before we get to them. For this reason I like to read through different translation in my daily Bible reading. A different translation can cause me to slow down and let the words soak in. Currently, I'm reading through the Bible in the New English Translation, and as I read John 11 yesterday, God caused the verses above to jump off the page.

Ever-practical Martha pointed out that Lazarus would stink.  Jesus’ response was “Did I not say to you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” That caught my attention because so often that’s how I am – “but God, what about ….” And He’s saying “What did I just tell you?

The reality is that when He chooses to wait, He is able to take care of all the consequences of what we perceive as a "delay". Stinking body? That's nothing to the Maker of heaven and earth. 

Maybe you are in a season of waiting. Perhaps you've been called to a country but the funds aren't there to go yet. Maybe a ministry vision only exists in your head and on scratchpads of paper. Or you're stuck trying to discern the next step. You get frustrated at the work that isn't getting done. But think about it: God is the person most interested in fulfilling the Great Commission and advancing His kingdom purposes. He wouldn't have you waiting if He didn't have a reason for it.

Or perhaps your waiting is more personal. You've longed for a husband, or a child, or release from a job. You can think of dozens of  reasons why there is "no time like the present" for God to step in. In fact, you reason that there are lots of adverse consequences just building up while you're sitting here waiting. It's so easy to forget that God is FOR us, and withholds no good thing from His children. He just doesn't always release them on our timetable. :)

Are you in a place of waiting today? What is the "stinking body" that you have been wondering how to deal with when the waiting ceases? Trust Him to deal with all the consequences of your waiting season. Hasn't He told you He will?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good reminder. We have abhorrence of being in God's "Waiting Room" forgetting that God is God and can
bring about that which we could not
have even imagined in our own "human reasoning" "Hmmm" sounds familiar. Did I ever used that phrase with my kids? Think so.
Too bad I don't make better application!