A two day delay

The story of Lazarus is one of those 'memorable moments' we see throughout scripture. Jesus' friend, taken by some form of illness, and his sisters beckon Jesus to come to him so he can be healed. Two days pass before Jesus even begins the journey back to Judea to be with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. Two days! If I was waiting for my brother's healing, knowing Jesus was 'dilly-dallying' in his response to my request, I might get a little miffed about the delay - especially when the delay ended in my brother's death! How many times do we find ourselves in a place where there is a tremendous need like this one, asking Jesus to come quickly, but realizing there will be a 'delay' in what we hoped to happen? If you heard, "Hey, just chill, I am coming, but just not right now," how would that make you feel? My trust would be tested to the max - how about yours?

A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days. Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.” (John 11:1-7)

We can send all kinds of prayer upward, only to hear the answer that it isn't the right timing yet. When we encounter the 'delay', we can oftentimes begin to grumble and complain about the 'wait'. Imagine the two sisters, one kind of 'trusting' and the other kind of 'wavering'. We might just find ourselves getting a bit too close to 'doubt' when the delay seems to be taking us toward an outcome we never wanted to occur. We don't 'want' to doubt, but there is something in what we perceive to be 'unnecessary delays' that can lead us into a place of 'tested faith'. I don't know the reason for the delay when these sisters made such a deliberate and concise plea for Jesus' help, but we know this was going to be one of those 'teachable moments' for not only the sisters, but his disciples and the crowd of mourners who were on the scene that week!

What teachable moment has God given you when you least wanted it? Most of these moments aren't something we 'prepare' for - they happen when we least expected them and in ways we least expected. Two days may not seem like a long time to get an answer, but when the delay seems to present something we didn't want to have happen, we can get pretty disappointed, huh? Death ensued in those two days - a burial had been arranged and now it appeared to be 'too late' for what they had hoped to see happen. Healing was now 'impossible', but resurrection wasn't! Could it be that Jesus wants to bring a bit of 'new life' to us today? 

Could the delay in our answer be because he is about to bring forth something within us that we never imagined possible? We might want to complain, get angry, or mourn for whatever is lost, but if you read on in this story, you will see that Jesus actually gets to Judea, albeit late by what they expected, and he 'stays outside the city'. He didn't even go to their house! Do you know what happened? Martha went to where he was. Some of us see the delay and stay put. Others will get up, find our way to Jesus, and meet him where he is - how about you? The delay isn't meant to discourage us - it is meant to help us seek Jesus - to get out of our places of comfort and to meet him where he is. Just sayin!

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