Waiting. Could there possibly be a more despised concept in western culture? In these days of instant gratification and instant access to just about everything, waiting has become a foreign concept. Yet the exhortation to “wait on the Lord” is found throughout Scripture. Anyone who has walked with the Lord for more than about five minutes can testify to the fact that God rarely does things on our timetable!
Some things don’t develop quickly. Trust is one of those things—and intimacy requires trust. Like it or not, waiting, in all its various forms, gives us the opportunity to develop, and exercise, trust.
It also gives us the opportunity to know Him better. There are facets of His character hidden for us—just waiting to be discovered—in the waiting.
A family in Bethany learned something about trusting Him in the waiting. This family knew Jesus intimately. It is certain the entire family knew of His miracles and had no doubt seen many first-hand. However, despite their close relationship with Jesus, they were not insulated from personal tragedy.
One day the brother, Lazarus, became extremely ill. The sisters sent word to Jesus saying, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” They knew Jesus loved them, and they believed He would come to heal Lazarus. Instead He responded in a way that to our human sensibilities seems a bit shocking.
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days (John 11:5-6 NIV).
What? Yep, He stayed right where He was. For two whole days. And while He stayed away—Lazarus died.
It’s hard for us to comprehend. He could have come sooner. But He stayed away for a reason that blows me away. He stayed away because He loved them.
~Not because they did something wrong.
~Not because they didn’t pray just right or believe just right.
~Not because He was mad at them.
He waited because He loved them.
Sometimes that makes sense. Sometimes we want things we’re not mature enough to handle. But other times it makes no sense at all and it may even look and feel as though God is indifferent to our needs and unaware of our suffering. But nothing could be further from the truth. We often misunderstand His intentions, because we want relief right now. But sometimes He wants to do more than we could ever dare to hope or ask.
God certainly never caused Lazarus to become sick, but when it happened, Jesus knew it was an opportunity to reveal more of Himself. They knew Him as a man of God—but He wanted to reveal Himself as God the Man.
He wanted reveal His glory.
God will come. Faithfulness is an immutable facet of His character. But He doesn’t always show up on our timetable. At times He waits precisely because He loves us. He comes when it brings Him the greatest glory—and us the greatest good. Sometimes that means He’ll come after our ideas of how He should answer have died and lie rotting in the grave. But the Author of Life is never limited—not even by death. Often, the longer He waits, the more staggering, amazing, marvelous and miraculous His ultimate answer will be.
“Delayed answers bring answers with increase.” – Bill Johnson
Even if we’ve resigned ourselves to the loss of our dreams. Even if we’ve begun to settle for less than what we once believed possible—convinced that God has denied our prayers. Even when it seems far too late to do any good at all—Jesus shows up. He speaks. Suddenly tragedy is turned into triumph, and hope is resurrected—eternally. Because when something has died and then rises again.
It lives forever.
The revelation we gain of Him last forever too. And that was the point. Jesus wanted to give them a much greater revelation of Himself. He wanted to reveal Himself as the One who has power over the grave. He wanted them to know Him—really know Him—as the Resurrection and the Life.
He wants you to know Him as the Resurrection and the Life, too.
~Do things seem impossible right now?
~Does it look as though God has forgotten you?
~Are some of your dreams dead and buried and stinking up the tomb?
Good. Because the One who “waits because He loves you,” knows exactly what it’s like to inhabit a tomb. But Love also has this sneaky habit of finding a way when there is no way. Love can never stay buried. Just ask the early disciples. They thought all was lost. At least they did on Friday.
But then Sunday came.
Sunday is coming for you too. In the meantime, know this:
He’s in the waiting.
Here is the full curriculum for this week: Be-Loved week 3 – The Intimacy of Waiting
Here is the podcast link: Beloved week 3: “The Intimacy of Waiting”
And the SoundCloud link: