Have you ever been so arrested by a thought, that you couldn't shake it (even if you wanted to)? And then, did you find that it began to absorb your soul with it's corollary thoughts?
This has been my experience this week...here in Delaware, enjoying my daughter and my new grandson. In the midst of baby and C-section and baseball camp and trips to the swimming pool with the older boys, something profound grabbed my heart. Can I tell you about it?
It all started in our summer lectio divina Bible study. A small group of ladies have been meeting each week to share what the Lord has "whispered" to each of us in our reading in the gospel of John. This week it was chapters 11 & 12.
As I began to read the very familiar story of Jesus raising His friend Lazarus back to life, I saw something as if for the first time. Take a look with me:
Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.John 11:1-5 NASB
Now that makes no sense at all, does it? When Jesus heard about the sickness of His friend, He delayed...He waited...and Mary and Martha and Lazarus waited too! In fact, Jesus caused them to wait!
Because of love...yes, LOVE!
Did you notice that?
He loved Mary...and He loved Martha...and He loved Lazarus!
Jesus loved each of them, so He delayed!
SO is such a significant word. He loved them, so He delayed! And because of that significant delay, each of them experienced something unique with their friend and Lord:
Martha, who is the "mover and shaker" of the group, received deep theological truth for her mind as well as her heart.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” John 11:25-27 NASB
Mary, the tenderhearted mystic, experienced the empathy of Her Lord and Savior in the midst of her grief. The Son of God wept with her!
When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled,and said, “Where have you laid him?” They *said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”Jesus wept. John 11:33-35 NASB
And then Lazarus, the beloved brother, experienced not just a healing of an illness, like many others had experienced at the hand of the Savior (as glorious as that all was), but life from the dead! Resurrection!
So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”John 11:38-44 NASB
So you may be wondering why this all grabbed me this week...
The Lord whispered this to me this week because I'm facing a total change of plan and scheduling...I'm waiting! My beloved daughter's unexpected C-section changed everything for many.
Beth's life and that of her husband and children have been deeply affected. Her recovery from childbirth is in a major delay-mode, unlike previous birthing experiences.
Plans for the older boys to go back with us to Ohio in a couple of weeks have been placed on hold...perhaps cancelled. This will be a major disappointment for all the cousins!
My husband's timing for coming out here to see the new arrival is also hanging in limbo.
Because when the Lord delays, for whatever reason and in whatever way, we wait...and wait...and wait. And sometimes we are deeply disappointed, even grieving the losses of things hoped for.
But here is the truth I cling to...
God loves me and He loves each of my loved ones! So He delays, because He knows what He is about in each of our lives.
I realized this week, that if I have a bad attitude in it all, I will miss experiencing the Lord in His own unique way for my life.
Furthermore, if I try to rescue my loved ones (husband, children, grandsons...), if I try to save them from difficulty and disappointment, if I try to make them okay, I may be standing in God's way in their lives. His delay is purposeful in each of our lives...uniquely and individually...just as it was with Mary and Martha and Lazarus.
I can't keep others close to me from being affected, even if they struggle with it all. I can encourage and offer a faith-filled encouraging word and support. But God is God and in His sovereign love, He sees the big picture...and it's always awesome in His economy and timing even if it's not in ours!
You too, my friend! What are you going through right now? Are you being kept waiting in a health crisis, family upheaval, frustrated dreams and ambitions?
Just know this, struggling one...He LOVES you, SO He is waiting! Don't miss Him! Rest in Him...He will surprise you with His peace and a unique experience of who He is, in and through your life.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13: 12 NASB
Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” ...Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him.John 11:40-44 NASB
PS. It is now several weeks since I posted the above. I'm so glad I didn't miss the Lord here in Delaware. These weeks have been precious for relationships and yes, the cousins will see each other. Because of the Lord's delay, the cousins will be together for a birthday. This wouldn't have been possible if our timing had worked. God even cares about the "little ones." Thank you, Jesus! Don't miss the next post for something more.