“Then Jesus became explicit: ‘Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him.’…When Jesus finally got there, he found Lazarus already four days dead. Bethany was near Jerusalem, only a couple of miles away, and many of the Jews were visiting Martha and Mary, sympathizing with them over their brother. Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him. Mary remained in the house. Martha said, ‘Master, if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.’ Jesus said, ‘Your brother will be raised up.’ Martha replied, ‘I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.’
‘You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?’
‘Yes, Master. All along I have believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who comes into the world.’ After saying this, she went to her sister Mary and whispered in her ear, ‘The Teacher is here and is asking for you.’ The moment she heard that, she jumped up and ran out to him. Jesus had not yet entered the town but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When her sympathizing Jewish friends saw Mary run off, they followed her, thinking she was on her way to the tomb to weep there. Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at his feet, saying, ‘Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died’.” John 11: 14-15, 17-32 (MSG)
Have you ever been running late to work or church? At that point, you are either in a panic to get out the door or accept the inevitable of being late. When we are running late, we want the clock to slow down, all cars to remove themselves from the road, and every traffic light to be green. The panic of being late can leave you frazzled. And in life when we think God is running late, it can leave us feeling hopeless.
In John 11, Jesus received word that his friend, Lazarus, was sick. While Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary, wanted Jesus to come right away, Jesus stayed where he was for two more days. After four days had passed, Jesus arrived to find Lazarus dead. Martha met Jesus first and explained that if Jesus had followed their time table, then the situation could have been avoided. She had probably seen and heard about the miracles that Jesus had performed. She knew he was able, but it seemed that she didn’t understand his heart. Didn’t Jesus love Lazarus? They knew that he could heal Lazarus, but it just didn’t make sense. Why would Jesus wait until it was over? Mary and Martha were being set up for a miracle, even though all they could see was there current circumstance. John 11:41b-43 (MSG) says, “Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, ‘Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I’ve spoken so that they might believe that you sent me.’ Then he shouted, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face.” In one instant, Jesus breathed life into a dead man, which showed God’s glory and power. It appeared that Jesus was late, that he couldn’t be trusted, and that he did not care. But there was something of greater importance that needed to be displayed. In the midst of facing difficulties, God is working behind the scenes to set you up for a miracle for your good and God’s glory. God’s timing is an interesting thing. He is rarely early, never late, and always on time. But how he defines “on time” is usually different than our definition. Have you ever felt that God was running late? Our definition of “on time” is usually at least a six month detailed plan of God’s provision. We want to see the miracle come to fruition before we believe. God is asking us today if we believe. Do you believe God when all you see is a negative diagnosis from the doctor? Do you believe God when you are doing your very best but don’t have enough money to pay all of your bills? Do you believe God when your spouse has walked out on you for the last time? Jesus is not asking us to believe after the resolution has occurred. He is asking you to believe in the midst of your situation today. And when you believe even when you can’t see, your miracle moment is going to become new grounds for believing God.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.