John 11:5-6 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.
What an odd way to show love. Isaiah 55:8-9 says that God’s ways are not like ours. These two little verses in John certainly demonstrate that. It’s pretty clear here that although Jesus loved this family, He knew the end from the beginning and needed to wait it out those forty-eight hours. He delayed. Stayed put. Let things take their course. During those two days, His friend died. Lazarus’s sisters mourned, felt pain and loss. Probably wondered why the Lord didn’t respond to their message. Questioned if Jesus really cared for them as they previously thought. I know I would. Jesus didn’t show up in their town until His friend had been dead 4 days. That’s a long time.
Think about it. You are good friends with the guy you believe to be the Christ. The promised Son of God. Can do great miracles. And you’re buddies. Pals. Wouldn’t you expect Him to show up and take care of you? Come heal your beloved brother? Pretty sure I’d be watching the road into town fully expecting the Lord to show up and kick some sickness butt. I think I’d feel pretty betrayed after watching my sibling take his last earthly breath. Even in imagining myself with great faith, I know my belief in the impossible happening would begin to dry up as I prepared my brother’s body and sealed him up inside a tomb. Certainly after 4 days, my reservoirs of trust would have completely evaporated. I may even have moved to anger by that point.
And yet, God’s ways are not our ways. His plans are higher than ours. Jesus knew exactly what He was doing as the days passed by. Whatever Mary and Martha went thru before their friend showed up and called their brother out of his brief burial-place, was needed. Helpful. For their best. The pain and suffering that surely seemed unbearable for them at the time served the purpose of demonstrating Jesus great love and power. Glorifying God in the triumph over even death. We see that Martha’s faith was remarkable as she greeted her Lord with the affirmation that even with her brother gone for so many days, whatever He asked of God would be given to Him. Where does that kind of trust and belief come from? Over and over in scripture we see that God is close to the broken-hearted. Somehow, during the darkest days, the Lord is able to speak to us clearly. In sorrow and pain, He comes close.
It’s hard to remember in the really truly agonizing moments of life – when God feels far away – but perhaps these scriptures will help keep it fresh in my mind. God has never given up on me. He does not abandon me. Not ever. No matter what appearances may be, how unfair the situation or how much I think I know what the Lord’s timing should be. Especially when His ways are not mine. I need to remember. Sometimes God just needs me to wait so His ultimate plans can come to pass. Even when 4 days seems like an eternity.