As I read the words on the page before me, the scene unfolds in my mind. I imagine it so clearly—what it might have been like, how they might have felt…
Lazarus lay in his bed gasping for air, too weak to move. He was dying. He could feel it, could see it in his sisters’ eyes. Mary sat beside him, tears running down her face as she bathed his forehead with a cool cloth. His lips moved and Mary leaned in close.
“What is it?”
“Jesus.” Lazarus worked hard to get the word out.
Mary stood. “Martha,” she called. “Send for Jesus.”
Time moved slowly as they waited for their friend to arrive. Minutes passed, then hours, then days. Jesus didn’t come.
“Why isn’t he here yet?” they wondered. Time was short. Where was he?
Then, the man in the bed gasped his last. All was quiet.
Still, no sign of Jesus.
Can you picture it?
Jesus didn’t come when the sisters called for him. Jesus didn’t come when Lazarus died. Jesus didn’t even come for the funeral.
It wasn’t until four days after the burial that he finally came. There was no reason for it, as far as anyone could tell. He hadn’t been held up anywhere. He had simply chosen to take his time.
When word came that Jesus was finally on his way, Martha pulled herself together and went to meet him. Mary, however, stayed home. Although she normally put aside her duties so she could hang on to Jesus’ every word, today she did not run to be with him.
Our Timing or His?
It’s a hard thing when Jesus doesn’t show up at the time or in the way that we expect.
Have you been there? Maybe you’re having difficulties in your marriage. Maybe you or your spouse has lost a job. Maybe you’re facing a health issue. Maybe you’ve lost someone you love. When God doesn’t show up how or when we expect Him to, it’s not always easy to run to Him. “Where are you?” we ask. “If only You had been there!”
I don’t understand why things happen the way they do. But I do know this: when things get bad, there is only one person to run to.
Mary and Martha got this. Although Mary didn’t go with Martha to meet Jesus, the Bible says that later, when He asked for her, she “got up quickly and went to Him” (John 11:29). Although they didn’t understand His actions, Mary and Martha still knew that Jesus was the only One they could turn to.
As the three of them stood in front of the grave, it was Jesus who began to cry. I think that He cried not only for the brother who had died but also for the sisters who were left. I think that He cried for all the pain and doubt that His friends were feeling. But, He had to let this happen. He alone knew why.
When His tears were spent, He spoke: “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
Then Jesus began to pray. When He was finished, He turned towards the grave and called with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
The brother, who had been dead for four days, came out.
Although it didn’t seem like it at the time, there was a reason that Jesus took so long to show up. It was so He could perform a miracle. Not just any miracle. The miracle of all miracles. The raising of the dead.
God is in Control
When life is spiraling out of our control, we need to remind ourselves that God is in control. Sometimes, He allows things to happen. Why? Because the greater the problem, the greater the miracle. The greater the miracle, the greater the glory.
“Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
It might not be at the time or in the way that we expect, but keep the faith.
Jesus is on His way.