Sunday, April 10, 2011

Too late

"Jesus Wept" by James Tissot (1836-1902)

TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 11:17-37

TO CHEW ON: "Now Martha said to Jesus, 'Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.'" John 11:21

What confusion Jesus caused by coming late. Martha didn't understand it. Mary didn't understand it (vs. 32). Even the Jews, who seemed to find a point on which to criticize Jesus every time he did a miracle, faulted Him for not doing one this time (vs. 37).

Jesus himself felt the impact of His delay. The sight of his friends so grief-stricken rocked Him to the core so that He "groaned in spirit," "was troubled," and "wept."

So why didn't He come sooner?

Because He had a bigger purpose in mind than sparing them this tragedy. He alludes to it when talking to His disciples in vs. 14 & 15: "Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe..."

Then, when Martha runs out to meet Him with her "if only..." He says it plainly: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live" - 11:25. He was shortly going to prove that He was bigger than even our biggest and most final enemy — death.

How much like Mary, Martha, and the Jews we are. We pray and wait, holding in our mind an expectation of how God will work. But He doesn't come through for us — until it's too late. But is it?

I believe there is a resurrection and life in every seeming delay. God works in our lives not to bring us through by the easiest, most comfortable way but by the most faith-stretching, God-glorifying, best way.

Where does God seem to be taking too long to answer in your life today? Will you trust Him to be resurrection and life in that situation, though it seems even now that He is too late?

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to trust Your timing in every circumstance. Amen.

MORE: When belief becomes a personal possession

"Martha believed in the power at the disposal of Jesus Christ, she believed that if He had been present He could have healed her brother; she also believed that Jesus had a peculiar intimacy with God and that whatever He asked of God, God would do; but she needed a closer personal intimacy with Jesus. Martha's programme of belief had its fulfilment in the future; Jesus led her on until her belief became a personal possession, and then slowly emerged into a particular inheritance - 'Yea, Lord, I believe that Thou art the Christ. . ." - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest - November 6 reading.

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