For every time that God answers my prayers, there’s a contrasting time when He does not. Sometimes He gives healing and strength before I even ask.
Other times, I call out to Him as one crying in the wilderness and hear nothing back but the echo of my own voice.
I have experienced this barrenness at the bedside of the dying, in the wake of a betrayal, in the face of a setback or tragedy.
And for a time it felt like there was no end to the terror in sight. No answers to the problem in sight. And, seemingly, no God in sight.
Perhaps this is how it seemed for Mary and Martha so long ago. (see their story in John 11)
These sisters knew Jesus well. They often served Him and sat at His feet. He considered their home, His home.
But when their darkest hour came—the death of their brother Lazarus, their provider and protector—they called for Jesus, and He did not come.
When this happened, perhaps Mary and Martha felt they deserved better.
After all, they were hardworking, upright, good people. They were friends of Jesus and had given Him a prominent place in their lives.
But right living doesn’t ward off heartache and knowing Jesus doesn’t doesn’t give us a get-out-of-tragedy-free card.
When we call and Jesus doesn’t come right away, it doesn’t mean He isn’t hurting with us, working for us, loving us.
What it does mean is that His delay is part of the answer to our prayer.
According to Merriam-Webster, a delay is “the amount of time you must wait for something that is late.” Late means “something that is past the expected time.”
So there’s the problem: expecting life—and God—to follow my time frame.
For the Bible tells me, “With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day.
God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost.
He’s giving everyone space and time to change.” II Peter 3:8&9, MSG
I think sometimes when I call & God delays to answer, He’s encouraging me to live out I Peter 1:8. He’s allowing me to get to the place where I can say . . .
“Even though I have not seen Him, I love Him. And even though I do not see Him answering my prayer right now, I BELIEVE in Him and am filled with Joy.”
Yes, Jesus delayed in coming to Mary and Martha. That delay challenged them, changed them, and eventually brought great glory to God.
When all was said & done, perhaps the sisters of Lazarus could have attested with Job, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.”
We may not see the miracle on the horizon, but we can be confident our Heavenly Father cherishes us and has our best in mind—always.
Let’s look for glimpses of His glory today. Blessings, friends!
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