Waiting is not one of my top skills–I get antsy and cranky. I don’t like having to wait. It feels like I’m wasting time that I don’t have. I especially hate when I’m waiting without knowing why or without being able to see the end coming. I mean, it’s one thing to stand in line somewhere and to know exactly how many people are in front of you. I think our DMV decided to switch things up for that very reason. Now, you get a different sort of number dependent on what you’re there to get. Each reason has its own letter and then a number afterwards so you never really know how many people are in front of you. There could be 15, but since you’re the only G#, you sit there listening to A#’s and C#’s, waiting for the next G# to be called. Shockingly enough, it’s actually shortened everyone’s wait time 🙂
Bible study this week has been about waiting and how God builds wait times into our lives. In John 11, Mary and Martha send for Jesus because Lazarus is sick. Verses 5 and 6 say, “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” (NIV). Pretty counterintuitive, right? Jesus loves them so he doesn’t rush to Lazarus and heal him. He follows that up in verse 14-15 by telling the disciples that Lazarus had died and that He was glad for their sakes that He hadn’t been there.
I needed to hear that this week. I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of waiting. Sometimes my health issues and the minuscule progress is enough to drive me nuts. I hate not having any sense of how close the end of the line is. I’m tired of praying over and over for different relationship issues without seeing progress. I’m tired of praying for my husband to have a less stressful job. I’m just tired of waiting.
And it’s easy to equate waiting for God’s answer with Him not caring or not working
Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus so He waited. He could have healed Lazarus–faith was not the issue. In verse 21, Martha tells Jesus that Lazarus wouldn’t have died if He had been there. Mary says the same thing in verse 32. The disciples had seen Jesus heal many people. They all had faith that He could heal Lazarus.
Jesus wanted more for them. As Jennifer Kennedy Dean says, “If Jesus had come to Bethany and healed Lazarus before he died, Mary’s and Martha’s prayer would have been answered. Their faith in Jesus would have been affirmed. They would have been more certain than ever that Jesus is Lord over illness. But they would never have known that Jesus is Lord over death” (Live a Praying Life, 96).
By waiting, Jesus showed them more about Himself–that He’s not only Lord over illness but also Lord over death. I can’t even imagine what a comfort that would have been to know that prior to His crucifixion. I know it’s a comfort to me now. I love Psalm 116:15–“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants” (NIV). Every time someone is dying in our lives, I’m comforted that God is right there because their deaths are precious to Him.
God has a reason for waiting, and it’s not because He doesn’t care. He loves us. Jesus died for us while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). A wait equals more, not less. Whatever you’re waiting for, it’s because God wants to give you more, to show you more about His lordship.
So, rather than getting cranky or railing at God for taking so long, I’m working on thanking Him for wanting to give me more and asking for the grace to wait for His best. I want that more, which means I have to wait for it.