Do you have expectations? Do you think you know what the answer is? Do you think you know how the question should be answered? Are you willing to consider that there might be another answer? Are you willing to trust God for His answer? What if it is wait for it? What if it is not yet? What if it is no? What if it is yes? Are you ok with the answer that God gives you?
Today’s reading speaks into a situation where people thought they knew what they needed. Their brother was sick and they wanted him healed. But that wasn’t the plan, the real plan was so much bigger than that so that God would get even more praise, honor, and glory!
4But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”5Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”–from John 11
God’s timing is perfect! He is never late! He is rarely early! He is always on time!
We see in continuing to read that Lazarus died from the sickness, but that wasn’t the end of the story! Jesus called him out of the tomb and rose him from the dead! Consider how much attention and glory that would have given God compared to healing a sick man. Yes, both would have, but God had another plan! Are you ready and willing to pursue God’s plan for you? Will you allow His plan and purpose to become yours? Will you allow His timing be good enough? Will you wait upon Him and praise Him through it all?
Today’s devotional (day 7 of 7) speaks into this reading from a work perspective. Silence has a purpose!
Silence is an Answer
Have you ever wondered why Jesus, when he heard that his dear friend Lazarus was seriously ill, waited two days before going to be with him? Though Jesus’ delay seemed inexplicable — at least from the point of view of Lazarus’s sisters, who requested his presence — he would be “glorified” because of it. Jesus didn’t immediately respond to their request, and the end result revealed that he was indeed the Messiah, the Son of God.
In other words, “silence” was the answer he gave. Yes, the answer. That silence turned into an amazing demonstration of deliverance from a situation that Mary, Martha and their neighbors had never known was possible — the resurrection of a person who had died.
Here’s the connection to those of us on a transition journey. When we’re out of work we continuously ask God to answer our prayer for a new career opportunity. Like King David of Biblical times, we cry out, “Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint . . . My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?” (Psalm 6:2 – 3). We wonder how long it will be before we get a job — primarily because we assume that a new job is the only possible answer to our prayer.
What’s more, we believe anything short of getting a job means that the Lord
is ignoring our prayer. We are tempted to believe that he has forsaken us if our prayer isn’t answered with a new job. Doesn’t God realize that I am afraid? That I need money? That I need self-esteem? That I need to rebuild my sense of self-worth?
Actually, God realizes much more than that. He is well aware of our needs, yet his desire is for us to grow closer to him, to trust in him, to experience the marvelous feeling of contentment that comes from a closer walk with him. The fact that Jesus didn’t drop everything and rush to Mary and Martha’s aid demonstrates that God doesn’t operate on our schedule. Clearly we are to operate on his schedule. That new job will come through on the exact day and at the exact moment he has planned it for us — and not one minute of worrying will change this.
We can make any bargains we wish with God, we can promise to be all he would want us to be — when we get that new job. But the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows that once we get that new job, we will revert to work-schedule mode and he will take the backseat again — that is, until we need him again.
Granted, we might be afraid; we might be unsure of ourselves and our abilities. We might feel rejected, overlooked and embarrassed, having heard nothing but silence from the Lord in answer to our prayers. If that’s you, I encourage you to take this time to know that he is God (see Psalm 46:10; 100:3). Silence is some- times his answer. Why? Because he wants us to spend more time working on our relationship with him.
Why not take a moment right now to actually praise the Lord for his silence? Praise him for the opportunity to grow closer to him. Enjoy the pleasure of his close company while you have the time to develop that habit of intimacy. Bask in the glory of his silence. Just lean back and feel his presence. It is peace.
So will you find peace in and through your relationship with God? Will you allow Jesus into your heart? Will you start to live the journey God has for you? Will you be ok with silence? It doesn’t mean He doesn’t hear you! It doesn’t mean He isn’t working it out! It doesn’t mean He is ignoring you! It doesn’t mean He doesn’t care!
God loves you! He loves you so much that He gave His one and only Son (which is why we celebrate Christmas) that whosoever will believe in Him would not perish but would have everlasting life! God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world, but to save it, in obedience to the extent of dying on the cross and conquering the grave and rising on the 3rd day bridging the gap between God and us (which is why we celebrate Easter).
So don’t lose hope! Be encouraged! God hasn’t left you or abandoned you! He is Emanuel God with us! You may hear silence so enjoy it and dive deeper into your relationship with Jesus! Allow Him to work in your heart! Humble yourself and allow Him to complete the preparations He is working on so that in the perfect time and the right time He can lift you up to a place of honor.