When Jesus Doesn’t Come

Renee Ann Smith —  October 5, 2015 — 16 Comments

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 Jesus Doesn't Come (Feel free to download or share!)

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!

Martha Mary Lazarus John 11 Job 42(Feel free to download & share!)

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Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

16 responses to When Jesus Doesn’t Come

  1. I love this point of your post – “That delay challenged them, changed them, and eventually brought great glory to God.” So good! Glad to be neighbors at Soul Survival today.

  2. Hi Renee.

    I like what you said this in post. I would like to tell you my point of view. I’m sure it’s not different than yours, but maybe others reading it will take an extra measure of comfort.

    When Jesus walked the earth he came late to Mary and Martha. When Jesus ascended into heaven, he sent his Spirit to dwell in us. God dwells in His faithful ones! He can’t ever come late because He’s already there! He never leaves us. We can’t leave Him. He promises He will NEVER leave us.

    So, when it seems as if God isn’t answering our prayers, take time to get quiet with Him. Ask Him what he’s doing. He promises wisdom to those who ask and He will reveal His will to those who seek him.

    He’s such a good God! He is so much more faithful than we are!

    When times are hardest, God is always right there with the comfort and direction we need.

    Just my 2 cents.

  3. Beautiful post Renee. And oh, how I need to remember that His timing is not MY timing! Visiting today from Testimony Tuesday!

  4. Good post, good words. The interesting thing about waiting on God is that, when we’re in the midst of it, we feel that we are the only ones to have to undergo this insurmountable waiting (my favorite comment is, “I’m not patient enough for this!” Who is, really?)

    It is comforting to know that we are NOT alone in this, and waiting — a long time, it frequently seems — is the part of every believer’s life, from Abraham to beyond.

  5. God is never late nor early. His time is always perfect. I wish I can remember this when I get a little to impatient though.:)

  6. I’m so grateful for the times God was working in my life, even when I couldn’t see him. Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

  7. Amen. God doesn’t always answer our prayers in the way we expect or on the timeline we have. Yet, when we pray Jesus hears us and walks with us through our painful circumstances. Our faith is challenged and refined. And maybe we get a little bit more of God’s perspective.

  8. I have heard it said that waiting is pausing in our horizontal movement to focus on our vertical relationship. I think that’s exactly what perceived delays do for us. we can’t get where we want to go so it forces us to stop and cry out to God…. which is exactly where He always wants us to be anyway. thanks for the post!

  9. I loved the part where you said sometimes delay is part of the answer. I will remember this next time I find myself getting impatient. Thank you for the inspiration. I found you through Three Word Wednesday.

  10. Thank you sister ((hugs)) this actually broke through a hard shell that’s been building up and helped encourage me a little. <3 That delay is so. hard.

  11. When it seems God has forgotten us, we can struggle deeply. I am learning to ground my emotions in the belief that God is always good and he is never late. It doesn’t make the negative emotions go away immediately, but it reminds me that they are just emotions and not truth. Thanks for sharing your insights, I am blessed. Visiting from #ThreeWordWed.

  12. Joining you in looking for the glory of God while waiting for His answers. Beautiful words. So glad I popped over from Still Saturday.

  13. Yes, my friend. ALL THE THINGS YES! Needed to hear this today and shared on pinterest because I KNOW others do too… THANK YOU!

  14. Hi, Renee. 🙂 This was such a good reminder for me this evening! Our family schedule has been so chaotic lately with my husband working varying hours and me going back to work a few days a week, as well. Some days I’m working all day long and then taking care of everything and everyone all night, too, since my hubby sometimes works seconds. It just feels like a lot right now, and I’m so weary. And tired of waiting, if I’m honest. 🙂 So, thanks for this good reminder that He has my best in mind (and for sharing with us at Grace and Truth last week!).
    Jen @ Being Confident of This

  15. Really needed to hear this! Thanks for sharing!

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  1. for those times when you don’t see a happy ending to your story — #TellHisStory | Jennifer Dukes Lee - October 13, 2015

    […] the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there! Our featured writer this week is Renee Ann Smith. She wrote a wonderful, thought-provoking post on delayed answers to prayers and what it might […]

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