“Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days” (John 11:6).
Think about that for a moment. Jesus is the Son of God with power to heal the sick, yet when he hears about Lazarus whom he loved, he did not hurry to heal him. It does not make sense on the surface. If you love someone, and if you can help them, why would you not rush to their aid?
I have a friend whose wife has been recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The first doctor said, “It’s hopeless. Go home. There’s nothing we can do.” Other doctors have tried different drugs, with some positive results thought the final outcome is not clear. I can see how heavily burdened my friend feels about it all. “I want to ask God why but I wonder if I should,” he said.
What do we do with God’s delays? Clearly God does some things differently than we would if we were God, but that’s precisely the point. Jesus stayed away because he intended to raise Lazarus from the dead. He even goes so far as to say to his disciples, “I am glad I was not there” (John 11:15). To us this may seem callous and unkind, but God’s ways are not our ways. Erwin Lutzer has a helpful word at this point:
The delays of Deity are not because of insensitivity to our present needs, but because of greater sensitivity to our ultimate needs.
Take all your questions, all your doubts, all your uncertainties, all your “if onlys,” and let them be dots on a piece of paper. Then draw a circle around all those dots. That circle represents the providence of God.
If Jesus had healed Lazarus, that would have been a great miracle. Raising him from the dead was an even greater one. God’s delays are not the same as God’s denials. If we know that, we can keep believing even while we wait for an answer that has not yet come.
You never know when a resurrection is on the way.
Jesus, help us to remember that you’ve got a bigger and better plan.
Thank you that the road to the Cross leads on to the Empty Tomb. Amen.