Wednesday, September 8, 2021

 Shepastor: “What Happens When We Have to Wait?”

John 11: 11-7,  New International Version (NIV)

The Death of Lazarus

11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

What happens when we wait?
Many of us are in a season of waiting…waiting for this horrible pandemic to pass, waiting for the insurance company to approve a much needed medication, therapy, etc., waiting on that check to come, waiting for some special door to open… waiting. Let’s be honest. Waiting feels overrated. It’s easy to tell others to be patient, wait your turn, wait on the Lord and be of good courage, good things come to those who wait, etc. But if we are honest, no one truly likes to wait, particularly in this day and age when so much is given to us so quickly.

 We want the fastest phones, the fastest computers, the fastest cars, the fastest email or text responses. We want everything in what we call “real time.” For those who use computers, nothing can be more frustrating than typing in something on Google or trying to live stream and we keep getting that annoying spinning wheel that indicates “buffering.” In other words, your computer is waiting to connect with the internet’s signal to show you what you are looking for. Uggghh!!!

 If we have to wait a short period of time, we may not feel too bad. We may grumble a

little or we may even just “suck it up” and keep pressing forward, knowing that the solution is just around the bin. But what happens when waiting is prolonged? What happens when discomfort turns into pain, pain turns into agony and agony begins to turn into despair? What happens in our psyche? What happens to our outlook on life? What happens to our hopes and dreams? What happens to our faith in God? What happens when we have to wait?

 At some point in our lives, we all will have the occasion to be able to relate to both Mary and Martha.  Mary and Martha were two sisters who were very close to Jesus.  Their brother Lazarus was close to Jesus as well. Jesus was their friend.  But he was more than that to them. They recognized Him as the Lord.  They believed Him when He said that He was the Christ, the Son of the living God.

 So, when Lazarus, their beloved brother and close friend of Jesus became ill, they were confident that Jesus would come immediately and heal him.  Even if he didn’t come, maybe he would do like he did for the Centurion’s servant, only say the word and Lazarus would be healed. But for some reason, Jesus delayed his coming.  Can’t you see Mary and Martha pacing the floor, running over to the window, hearing footsteps coming down the cobblestone path and saying, “Is that Jesus?” only to discover that it was just another traveler, walking down the dusty road.  Worry and fear began to transform into confusion, anger and possibly resentment. Where was Jesus?  Why didn’t He come when they called? 

Where are you Jesus?  My sickness is getting worse.  Where are you Jesus?  The bills are piling up.  Where are you Jesus?  I can’t find a job.  Where are you Jesus?  My child has gone astray.  Where are you Jesus?  Why are you taking so long to come to my rescue?

 In light of the pain that Mary and Martha were in and in light of the fact that we know that Jesus knew that they were in pain, Jesus’ words in verse 5 are puzzling…

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

 What? Jesus loved Martha, Mary and Lazarus, yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he went back to the city where he’d come from, Judea and DELAYED his coming! How does that make sense? Because Jesus was fully human and fully divine, He understood just how they felt…frustrated, hurt, angry, disappointed. But what they did not know was that Jesus was about to perform the GREATEST miracle they had ever seen – a miracle that would strengthen their faith in such a way that no one or nothing could ever shake their belief. What they didn’t understand was that this period of waiting was for God’s glory and their blessing!

 What happens when we wait? Even at our most challenging points, when we wait, not in our own strength, but through the strength and power of the Holy Ghost, we learn how to “glory in our sufferings.” We can rise above our current situation and circumstance and know that somehow, the Lord is going to get the glory and bring glory out of our situation. What happens when we wait? The Lord teaches us how to persevere.  Listen to how the dictionary describes perseverance…

“To continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success. To… 



persistcontinue, carry on, go on, keep on, keep going, not give up, struggle on, hammer away, be persistent, be determined, see/follow something through, keep at it, show determination, press on/ahead, stay with something, not take no for an answer, be tenacious, be pertinacious, be patient, stand one's ground, stand fast/firm, hold on, hold out, go the distance, stay the course, plod on, plow on, grind away, stop at nothing, leave no stone unturned; 

 Psalm 107:23-24 King James Version (KJV) declares,

23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; 24 These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.

Waiting places us in “deep waters.” The Lord loves us. He does not want us to remain all of our lives in shallow waters. The Lord knows that if we get everything we want, when we want it, how we want it, the way we want it, we will never learn how to build up and flex our “faith muscles.”


The Lord knows that we will never see the wonders of God in the deep, we will never see the miracles of God unfold, we will never experience the power of God to resurrect that which was dead, and take away that which was stinking in our lives unless we go through some Mary, Martha and Lazarus experiences! God’s timing is not our timing. God’s ways are not our ways. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. We live in Kronos, God lives in “Kyrios.” Kronos is the human time – like the clock on the wall. Kyrios is the “fullness of time,” it is eternal, it is God’s specific time that He has ordained for things go happen according to His perfect will and purpose for our lives.

 If we can hold out until our change comes, we will see the Lord move the stones away. After some heart wrenching discussion and tears, Jesus asked them to do something that seemed utterly ridiculous.  He told them to “remove the stone.” But Lord, by this time Lazarus’ body is decaying and stinking.  “Remove the stone.”  But he’s been dead four days now – no doubt his spirit has since flown to the bosom of Abraham.  “REMOVE THE STONE!!!” 

Sometimes in our own lives, things have died. Dreams have died.  Hope has died.  Relationships have died.  Opportunities have died.  We may feel as though it makes no sense to remove the stone because by now, we’ve accepted the fact that what we’ve been hoping for, praying for, crying for may never happen. 

 At times, God allows things to die in our lives so that we can experience the joy of resurrection.  Oftentimes faith requires us to do what seems ridiculous and believe what seems impossible.  Great things happen when you step out in faith.  Great things happen when we have to step out into the deep. Great things can evolve when we persevere in our faith even when it looks like “game over!”

 We’ve got to trust that if God’s Word says it, He is able to deliver on His promises.  Even when it looks like the Lord is delaying His coming to help you – God is faithful.  Even when it looks like it’s over – Jesus is the resurrection and the life.  He can help you to remove the stone of doubt, the stone of fear, the stone of defeat, the stone of despair, the stone of hopelessness. Let Him bring resurrection power into your life.  Allow the Lord to do GREAT THINGS in your life, while you wait!

 In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,

Pastor Chris