Remember the story of Lazarus in the Bible?  I think we sometimes read a few verses of the Bible and don’t really think about them.  Oh, what a nice story, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.  Sweet.  Cute.  Pleasant.  At the most, it’s good news.  Blah, blah, blah.  Ho hum.  Moving on.

But wait a minute.  Read it again.  Think about what Martha must have been thinking the moment Jesus came.  I don’t know what she might have been thinking really but I can tell you what I would be thinking.

Read John 11:5 and then read verse 6.  “Jesus loved Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus.  So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed two more days in the place where he was”.  Excuse me?  He loves them so he stayed right where he was…He didn’t run to be with his friends.  He didn’t run to comfort.  He didn’t run.  He stayed away from them.

Read verse 20.  All Martha says is “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”

Here is what I would have said.

“Are you kidding me?!!!  I sent word to you days ago that YOUR FRIEND  was sick.  And you stayed two more days and now he is dead! In fact, he has been dead 4 days!  Do you hear me?  My brother is dead!  You could have healed him but no!  You were off healing a bunch of strangers in God knows where!  I don’t understand you!  You talk and preach about love.  You travel, healing and telling people how great God is but when it comes to living it out-You stayed away!  You could have at least sent a card or a casserole.  You are a carpenter for God’s sake!  Where were you when we were ordering a coffin?  Even if you didn’t want to heal him, you could have at least sent a note of sympathy.  We already had the funeral.  You could have said a few nice words.  Maybe how much he meant to you!  Obviously not that much!  I have been telling my family how wonderful you are for months.  And since you are so controversial, I always put in a lot of nice words about you.  So, when Lazarus got sick, I told all my unbelieving friends and relatives, “Don’t worry-Jesus will come and heal him”.  They laughed at me because you proved them right!  YOU DON’T CARE!  You don’t give a rip about us.  I don’t even know why you are here now!  I wanted you 4 days ago!  Before he died!  You are too late!  You are always perfect but this time you were too late!  He’s dead!  How many times have we been with you when someone comes up and says, “My daughter is sick, please come heal her”, and you drop everything and go.  People you don’t even know.  You go and you heal.  Well, I am done.  I am done with you.  There’s the door.  Don’t let it hit you on the way OUT!”

How many times have we watched God heal others of headaches they have had for 2 hours, knowing full well that nothing is impossible with God, but then our prayers for someone who has been crippled for 25 years go unanswered year after year after year after year.  And our faith dwindles.  And we excuse God.  Oh, it must be His will.  Oh, there are others that need healing more.  We are fine.  It could be worse.

We try not to think about it or question it.  We are tired of being disappointed so we stop asking all together.  We compartmentalized that one area of unanswered prayer.  We rationalize.  We ignore.  We excuse.

First of all, when I start getting mad at God, I read the last few chapters of Job.  Oh.  That’s right.  I am not God.  He made me-not the other way around.

The story about Lazarus ends well.  Sure, Jesus waited a few extra days but maybe it was because Aunt Lucy and Uncle Larry hadn’t arrived yet from Minnesota and he wanted them there for the miracle.  Jesus raised Lazarus, who was as dead as a doornail, from the dead.  There was no mistake.  The man had been in a tomb for 4 days.  Yep, pretty sure our boy’s dead.  Jesus didn’t do CPR.  He didn’t call 911.  He called Lazarus’ name.  And Lazarus came out of the tomb walking all by himself.

God sees the whole picture.  I don’t understand it all.  If I did, then God wouldn’t be as big as I thought he was.  I don’t want to understand all of God because then our relationship would be boring as I continue to try to understand all of God.

Do I have unanswered prayers?  Yep.  Do I have things I get mad about because it seems like he just doesn’t care enough?  Yep.  Is God really good?  Yes.  He is good.  He does understand you and your time.

There are things that would have been different if prayers had been answered sooner.  The adjusting that you do for those unanswered prayers are adjustments that would not have happened if God was a genie in your back pocket who could grant you wishes anytime you wanted.  God is God.

He knows everything and nothing is impossible with Him.

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