When God says “not yet”
April 6, 2019
It is now April, and none of the hopes and goals that I started the year have seen progress. I have been struggling a lot with God’s goodness and my physical challenges. In the past two weeks my mobility has gotten harder which makes walking difficult. Our church is nearing the end of a seven week, forty days of prayer and two weeks ago the focus was praying for healing. At the end of the sermon, the pastor invited people to come to the front for prayer and many people came forward. This is the first time the church has done that and so I went forward. I was not healed that Sunday, and I was discouraged that morning, but still continue to struggle in knowing God’s goodness.
Last Sunday the pastor spoke on a very difficult passage. It is difficult not in the sense that it is difficult to understand, but difficult in the sense of discouragement. Half way through the sermon I found myself crying, and this is very rare that I do not remember when the last time that has happened. I felt in that moment that God seems silent, far off, and that He does not care. The passage the pastor preached on is taken out of John chapter 11. Martha, knowing that Jesus can heal, comes to Jesus asking that He would heal her brother who is sick. Then Jesus does something very interesting:
When Jesus heard this, he said, “This sickness will not end in death. It is for the glory of God, to bring glory to the Son of God.” Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. But when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was for two more days. (JOhn 11:4-6)
I think the part that really surprises me is where it says Jesus loved them, and so we would think because Jesus loved them, He would go quickly to heal Martha’s brother, not wait and delay longer but the key part is that the situation is for the glory of God. Lazarus was sick, but in a few days dies. At this moment, people are thinking what is Jesus doing, He could have healed Lazarus. Jesus had in mind something far greater than a healing:
After Jesus said this, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with pieces of cloth, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take the cloth off of him and let him go.”
Many of the people, who had come to visit Mary and saw what Jesus did, believed in him. (John 11:43-45)
Martha went to Jesus seeking healing for her brother, but Jesus delayed in healing Lazarus, but what happened is an even greater miracle. Sometimes God has something far greater than we can ask or imagine but in the moment of our difficulty, God seems to delay and God seems to not care.
Earlier this week, we went to the grocery store where we got some items and we were charged for something different than we had purchased and that item costs $10 more than the item which we got. We did not know this until we had gone back home. This was the first time something like this happened and so I called the store and asked about the situation. We went back and were surprised that not only were we refunded the total cost, but our grapes were free because we came all the way back. This moment was a time when I experienced how God had helped us in this situation and I know He is walking with us even now.
What difficult situation have you prayed for a long time where God seems silent?
Father in Heaven, sometimes we go through times in our lives when we pray and nothing seems to happen and all seems silent. In that moment we do not know what to do. Help us to not give up in seeking You, help us to trust You more. There are times when You are working something out that we cannot see, something far greater than we can imagine.