Why did Jesus delay going to Lazarus

Do you or have you ever felt like God is ignoring you?  Do you feel you are being held behind bars with your pain and your problems?  Come with me, let’s take a look at the story of Lazarus from John 11.

1Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”4But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6So, when he heard that Lazaruswas ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

Okay, we have a close friend of Jesus … Lazarus … he is seriously ill.  Jesus has been called to come help save Lazarus, yet, what does Jesus do?  He stays 2 days longer at his location and does not go to heal Lazarus.  Why???  Do you ever feel the same way?  Do you ever feel like Jesus has ignored you?  I mean I prayed so many times, Lord, please take away this family chaos, please take away this sexual addiction, please heal these wounds.  I felt like Jesus never heard.  Being honest, I felt left in my misery.

14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

Now Jesus is saying that He was glad He was not there.  Why would he say that?  He wants us to believe?  Believe what?  Of course, now He is ready to go see Lazarus 2 days later.

17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two milesoff, 19and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”23Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”24Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,26and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

38Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it 39Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.”40Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God? 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

So why did Jesus wait?  He arrives, Lazarus is dead BUT … what did Jesus do?   He brings Lazarus back to life!!  What do you think was going through the heads of those around.  Mary? Martha, the community?  What a miracle!  Do we now see what Jesus was doing when he waited 2 days longer to arrive?  It truly showed what He could do. The miracle He could perform. The words of Jesus was “Unbind him, and let him go”.  Can he not do the same for us?

That leads me back to you and me.  Why do you think Jesus seems to wait?  Why does he wait to pull us from our current situation, wait to heal us from our addiction and our wounds?  Is it not possible that there is a greater plan in all of this?  You see, looking back at all the times I begged Jesus for help … growing up in an abusive home, being bullied in School, being ignored and looked down upon by others, using sexual addiction as my Band-Aid of choice … Jesus was just waiting to come at the right time.  His time.  His way.  I look back at my life now and I see a totally different picture of God’s greater purpose from my life’s struggles.  I see a plan in action.  Because of where I was vs. where I am now, I see a miracle that I can now tell others.  Not only a miracle, but I have also been there.  I have been greatly hurt but what is so cool about that is when I connect with others that are hurting, I can never ever look down on them.  Instead, I look at them with compassion.  I understand what they are feeling.  That is what God has taught me from my life’s struggles.  That is why I am here right now.  I understand and my prayer is that you will be able to do the same. 

So, in closing, I want to ask you these 3 questions:

  1. Do you believe God is in control?
  2. Do you believe God is good?
  3. Are you willing to wait through your difficult situation until God proves both #1 and #2 above?  Then wait for Him.  Don’t give up hope.  Let God be God!!! Like when Lazarus died, look what Jesus did when he proved to Mary and Martha what He could do. Their faith soared!!  The problem is we do not give God a chance, we live in the horizontal. It’s hard to get to the point that you can live vertically in a horizontal world. You cannot fight fear with fear. God gave us a spirit of love, peace and self-control, not fear.

God does not want your mistakes to be a prison holding you behind bars. But God wants to use it as a greater pathway to grace. God will never define you by your worst mistake. God has not given up on you. He still wants to use you. Your mistakes are not final!

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