If you’ve never been to Chicago, it is almost a requirement that you visit the Sears Tower (or, if you’re a tourist, you call it by its actual name: the Willis Tower). It is the tallest building in the city and has one of the most incredible views – which you can enjoy from a scary glass box sticking out of the building.
Now, if you visit the tower it is very important that you DON’T go on a Saturday.
Why? Picture this scenario my sister went through:
You get to the tower at 11 a.m. There is a huge line outside of the building and you think “well…it’s ok! I’ll make the line. It’s worth it.”
An hour goes by and you’re finally at the door. Whew! It was about time! You get your money ready, camera out. And then…
There’s yet another big line inside. You stand on the same spot for 15 more minutes. You move a little.
Maybe this wasn’t a good idea after all.
Finally, you make it! You snap a few pictures. It’s nice, but you’re SO hungry. You prepare to leave, when you see a huge line of people.
“What’s this line for?”, you ask.
“It’s for leaving the tower.”
Visiting the tower turned into a 5-hour event.
As I’ve shared before, I’m not the most patient woman in the world. Can you relate?
Sometimes, it feels like we’ve been waiting for something long enough. Things are not coming through as expected. We start losing hope.
But I have learned, through precisely NOT getting that I want, when I want, that God’s timing is so much better than mine. But it hasn’t been easy, and it’s still not. It has taken many experiences and seasons of waiting — some of which I’m still at — to teach me to surrender my mental life appointments and yield to His perfect time and schedule.
But how can we have peace about waiting?
You see, God’s delays are not without purpose. It is only through understanding His character that we can truly rest when things are not going as we planned.
Most of us know the story of Lazarus. He died and Jesus rose him from the dead.
As impactful and crazy and powerful as that is, there is something more to learn of this story than what Jesus did. It also matters HOW he did it. Read the passage below:
“Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha…
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.”
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…“
Lazarus, Mary and Martha’s brother, was sick. He was dying. The sisters knew about Jesus’ healing power, so they sent a message immediately to Jesus so he could rush over there and heal their brother.
Yet, Jesus didn’t go when they expected. Upon receiving the news, Jesus stayed where he was at. He didn’t go like He had done before for so many people.
What’s even more surprising is that the Bible says why He did it: because He LOVED them – Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
Are you scratching your head yet?
Because He loved them, He didn’t go. Because He loved them, He didn’t heal Lazarus. Because He loved them, He was “late”.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Can we stop here for a moment and enjoy the sister dynamic that is going on here? I. Love. It.
We often look at Martha as busy-Martha, the one who didn’t sit at Jesus’ feet and was consumed with chores and tasks (if you don’t know this story, read Luke 10:38-43). We often dehumanize the people in the Bible, point at their flaws and forget we are very much like them.
Here, Martha’s personality is highlighted. Mary was too troubled and depressed to meet Jesus when He came. She didn’t even go out to greet Him. She was probably mad and hurt and didn’t even want to face Him.
Yet, Martha went out to meet with Him. While it’s true that the first thing she did was protest (lol), she knew who Jesus was by saying “…but I know that even now God will give you what you ask.”
Mary stayed inside, dwelling on the loss. Meanwhile, Martha got up and went to Jesus. Knowing Jesus and His power got her off her feet: out of mourning and into believing.
Isn’t it great to see how God loves us, even with our different personalities? Isn’t it awesome to see that our strengths can help lift others in their weakness and our weakness can be lifted up by other’s strengths?
Again, I. Love. It.
Jesus’ love for Martha, Mary and Lazarus is EVIDENT throughout this story:
- Jesus listened to Martha, and didn’t rebuke her, but heard her and answered her with love.
- Jesus asked for Mary later on and she was able to get out of the house. He didn’t leave her as she was, He called for her to see the miracle that was going to take place. The Bible said Jesus was deeply moved by her tears.
- For the first time, we see that Jesus wept. And he did so for Lazarus. The Jews even said “wow! look how much He loved him!”
If you weren’t convinced Jesus loved them, I hope this helped to see that He did.
Yet, He let Lazarus die. Out of love.
My friend, God can’t deny who He is. If He is love, everything He allows in your life – including delays – goes in line with His love for You. There is a greater purpose in your circumstances that meets the eye. God is working. He is preparing something greater. He is molding us, shaping our character and taking out things that will be harmful to us in the long run. He is teaching us to trust who He is, and to lean on Him and Him alone.
And sometimes it takes death. It takes things that we hold very dearly to be taken away. It takes waiting seasons. It takes the valley and the desert. But please know: an oasis is coming. He will fulfill His promises. He has blessings in store for those who wait (Isaiah 40:31 , Lamentations 3:25, Habakkuk 2:3, Isaiah 30:18).
In the end, we see that Lazarus was raised from the dead. This is definitely an incredible miracle! The Bible says that, because of this miracle, MANY believed. God’s plan was way better. And it always is.
I encourage you to wait and rest in Him. Put your faith on who He is – loving, just and GOOD. If you are his son and daughter, you are under your Father’s care. And He is a good father.