Do you ever feel like heaven is silent? You’ve prayed and prayed, yet you see no fruit of your prayer-laden labor. Well, if you are currently in one of those “moments of silence,” I have a word of comfort for you today.
A man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. (John 11:1-6)
Imagine how you would have felt if you were Mary or Martha. Their brother was sick unto death, so they send word to Jesus to come for a healing. Yet Jesus deliberately delayed, and did go to His sick friend Lazarus until he had been four days in the grave. When Jesus finally did arrive, a grieving Martha said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” But that wasn’t all Martha said! She continued, “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask” (John 11:21-22).
Martha’s grief was normal and natural; her faith in Jesus was supernatural. And Jesus had a supernatural purpose. He had a far better answer to prayer than to heal a sick Lazarus; He was about to raise him from the dead! Our Lord’s divine delay did not mean denial.
I want you to consider that God’s delay that you are experiencing might not be a denial at all; God is simply planning a greater blessing than you could have ever asked for or imagined. God is in the business of showing up when we least expect Him and giving to us more than we could have imagined.
So . . . what have you been praying for lately? Where in your life are you hoping for a miracle? The years have taught me that waiting on God is time well spent. God uses that time to focus our faith and build our belief. And when God’s delay actually did turn out to be His denial, it was always for my best. God knows exactly what we need and when we need it. His timing is always perfect. We must simply trust in His plan for our lives and acknowledge it as better than our plan. Deep in our hearts, we must realize what Martha knew: that all things are possible with God.
Most of us, when we think of Martha, have a tendency to focus on her frustration with her sister Mary, who chose to sit at the feet of Jesus rather than help Martha prepare the meal. We might be tempted to think of Martha as shallow and unspiritual. Yet, while still in the midst of grief for her brother’s death, Martha professed her great faith in Jesus Christ, declaring, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world” (John 11:27).
Seeing Martha in a one-dimensional light is like thinking of Thomas as only “the doubter” or thinking of Peter as the one who sank when trying to walk on the water. It was Thomas, when the other disciples were wavering about accompanying Jesus to Bethany, who urged the group, “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John 11:16). And it was Peter who preached so boldly on the Day of Pentecost that about 3,000 people believed the Gospel message and were baptized.
You and I are very much like Martha, Thomas, and Peter. We all have a mixture of belief and unbelief in our hearts; we waver between faith and fear. During those times of doubt and despair we simply must remember that our blessings are never dependent upon our faithfulness to Jesus; rather, it is His faithfulness to us that causes the blessings! And He is always faithful to answer our prayers . . . in His perfect time. Christian, divine delay does not always mean denial.
Let that truth set you free!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT…AMEN!