“Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died’ ” (John 11:21).
In this verse, Martha spoke the truth, but left something out. Jesus indeed could have healed Lazarus at any time. In fact, Jesus did not turn away people in need of healing. But for everything, there is a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Not appreciating God’s timing can trip us up. In fact, if we wanted answers to prayer on our timetable, we would rob ourselves of greater blessings.
In waiting for Lazarus to die, Jesus opened the door to strengthen the hearers’ faith even more. They would witness a resurrection from the dead. They would see in visible form how Jesus conquers the grave. We need to trust God’s timing, and to not try and force matters. Not waiting on God carries definite drawbacks:
• We rob ourselves of the blessing of patience.
• We may miss a greater blessing.
• We fail to learn the wisdom of God’s timing.
• We substitute our own solutions for God’s best.
• We settle for less.
In our prayers, we need to ask God for grace to wait on Him. The suffering Psalmist discovered this many centuries ago:
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land” (Psalm 37:7-9).
Fretting, worry and stress lead to deepened anxiety. When God doesn’t respond on our timetable, we lash out. But God cautions us to “refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.” Angry reactions fail to wait on God’s perfect timing and only lead to bad outcomes. When we ponder God’s great qualities, we recall His perfect wisdom, perfect power, and perfect love for us. He will not withhold what we need (Psalm 84:11). He will come to us in our hour of need (Luke 18:7-8). But we need to wait on God’s timing, and God’s wisdom in determining how He answers us.
When Lazarus fell deathly ill, most of us would have joined Mary and Martha in praying for his healing. But Jesus had something better in store, a resurrection from the dead. This teaches us to leave the matter with God, and trust Him for the best possible outcome.
Posted on Wed, November 23, 2016
by Sam Petitfils