Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Timing is Everything

The timing of this email I received about God's perfect timing was (of course) timed perfectly. Just thought I'd share.

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha… So, when [Jesus] heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was … Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days… So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died� (John 11:1-21).
What do you do when you hear your child crying in the middle of the night? Do you say, “Hey! Make a note of your problem and check with me in the morning.� Of course the answer is no. If my wife tells me, “James, my heart is really heavy about something. Can we talk?� I don’t say, “Well, I think I’m free on Tuesday.� If someone from my small group calls after midnight and says, “There is a problem. Can you come over?� I don’t say, “I’ll have to get back to you on that.�
We respond immediately to the people that we love, don’t we?
That’s what’s so confusing about Jesus’ response to Mary and Martha’s request for Him to come heal their dying brother, Lazarus. We’ll look at this account from Jesus’ life on the broadcast this week in our series Meeting God In… The setting is John 11, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that Lazarus was ill, He stayed two days longer in the place where He was� (vv. 5-6).
I’m totally puzzled by that. Jesus’ actions don’t square up with my understanding of God. Surely if Jesus really loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, He would have rushed to help them. That’s what I would do. Yeah, and that’s what makes me human and Jesus, God.
It’s important to your faith that you know that God isn’t like us. He doesn’t always act like we want Him to. God often makes us wait because He has a higher good or bigger picture in view.
You can’t draw a line from God’s heart, to the clock, to your problem. We often see no relative connection between the three, but I can assure you, His timing is always perfect. Mary and Martha learned God never arrives too late. You don’t need to be worried one minute, even if it seems like midnight has come and gone.
What are you waiting on God for today? Relief? Provision? Direction? I bring you this good news—God’s timing is always perfect.
Though it seemed to all who were grieving Lazarus’ death that the Lord failed to come through for them, there was no failure. In their wildest imaginations they couldn’t have guessed the purpose for Jesus’ seeming delay. They probably all laughed about it that night around the dinner table. I can imagine Lazarus laughed the loudest.