The inability to wait, or to be patient, has its roots in “self-worship”. I know none of us believe we worship ourselves, but when we want something, we usually want it now, mostly because, we just want it now. If we don’t get what we want, especially concerning our relationships with others, we tend to call foul. “You don’t love me!” Really what we are saying is, “You don’t love me as much as I love me!”
One of my precious grandchildren, when recently informed that it was time for his mid-day nap, didn’t believe that love was being shown to him by his father. My grandson wanted to play a video game and he wanted to play it at that moment, not wait till after his nap. When told that he had to take his nap first, he emphatically stated that he wanted a new house and new parents! Why? Because he didn’t get what he wanted when he wanted it. Well did he have a point there? If someone loves you, shouldn’t they immediately address your needs, and do so in a satisfactory fashion? How in the world does “wait” equate with “I love you”? In the world, especially nowadays, wait doesn’t equate with love, or so we are told.
John 11 tells the story of Jesus’ raising of Lazarus from the dead and about Jesus’ love.
In John 11:1-4 we read that Lazarus’ sisters sent an urgent message to Jesus, that Lazarus, a man that could be considered to be a close friend to Jesus, was extremely ill.
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.” (John 11:1-4)
What occurs next, could be viewed as very callus, yet is actually very loving.
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 11:5-6)
After hearing the message from Mary and Martha, Jesus stays where he is… two days longer.
What!? Where is the love in that? Why are these devoted followers of Jesus being made to wait, especially in a time like this?
He loved them, SO he made them wait?
All of us have probably heard this time and time again:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
And Oh how true it is!
While Mary and Martha didn’t fully understand why Jesus waited, they both knew that if Jesus had been there, their brother Lazarus would not have died. However, their hearts were still soft toward the Savior. Instead of their hearts becoming hard and callused, they accepted that Jesus had a plan and a reason beyond their mental and emotional capacity to comprehend.
What was that plan? It was not necessarily to raise Lazarus from the grave, but it was to glorify Christ and the Father which strengthened the faith of Mary, Martha, and the disciples. Jesus felt the pain of those two sisters that day, he wept with them and also rejoiced with them as God was glorified when their brother walked out of the tomb, alive and well.
When you are struggling, when you have prayed countless prayers, when your heart is failing, and you feel that God is two days away, remember that Christ loves you. He has a plan, and that plan, whether we understand it or not is designed for God’s glory and for your good.