In high school I sang competitively. My sophomore year I was 4th in the state of AZ, junior year 3rd and my senior year I was 2nd. My audition score was 99/100 and a (stinking) sophomore got 100/100. I missed 1st chair by one point. One point, people! But since I’m not the least bit competitive, it hasn’t bothered me *at all* these past 17 years. But I digress...
Once you made the choir (and sat in the seat right next to the first chair), you had to be on time. If you were 1 minute late to a rehearsal, you were kicked out. No questions asked, no second chances. I am being literal. Years of practice could be erased in seconds. This level of absurdity can only result from a culture that highly values punctuality.
It is the ingrained cultural value of punctuality that caused everything in me to rise up in protest against what I read this morning. You’ve maybe heard of Lazarus and Mary and Martha. They were all siblings and happened to be very dear friends of Jesus’. Lazarus was dying and the sisters sent word to Jesus to please return to the city and save him. A very reasonable request in my humble (but accurate) opinion.
Since Jesus loved Lazarus and the sisters were asking Him to come, He obviously jumped up and immediately left on the day long journey back to Judea. Maybe He’d even teleport Himself to make better time. Or at the very least run super-fast so that nothing but a row of flames remained where his feet had trod. Nope. Jesus’ remarkable response: to stay two more days where he was. What?! I’m sorry, buy according to W.W.J.D. logic, Jesus didn’t even do what Jesus would do.
This tells me two things about Jesus:
1. He has his own agenda. He does not work on our timeline and He is not trying to make us happy. He knows (just as well as any parent) that giving someone what they want, exactly when they want it, is NOT the way to help them become a decent human. It’s the way to make a monster. See also, Veruca Salt.
2. His apparent inaction is not from a lack of love for us. It’s just the opposite actually. We know from several different scriptural accounts that Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus dearly. When he arrived to Lazarus’ grave, John 11:35 tells us Jesus was so moved that He wept. (That is the shortest verse in the Bible by the way for any lazy memorizers out there)
Seasons of our life can seem much more valley-ish than mountain top. I know for me, my divorce when I was 22 years old was definitely one. And more recently, our 6 years of infertility. We all endure hard seasons of waiting on God to move and pleading with Him to revive dead things. Sometimes He comes “in time.” But sometimes things die. People. Relationships. Dreams.
Be encouraged though. This story reveals that God is very involved in our messy lives. He holds our tears (Ps.56:8). He knows the tears you’ve shed on your kitchen floor and in Doctor’s offices and in court rooms. You are not forgotten today. You are held.
Incidentally, if you know someone who is struggling big-time today, maybe you can encourage them with one of these meaningful gifts from Bottle of Tears?
What perceived “immediate need” of yours is God taking “two days” to answer? I dare you to trust God and His timing.