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.”
“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when people walk at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
I don’t know about you, but when my best friend hurts, I hurt for him. If he’s sick, or in trouble, let alone dying, I want to do whatever I can to help him out…
That’s why I have such a hard time understanding Jesus’ reaction when a servant comes running up and tells Him that His friend is dying. I mean, Jesus is the epitome of love, grace and compassion, right? So, it makes sense that we would see Him jumping off His chair and rushing off toward Bethany. But, the reality is that Jesus does… nothing. Not a single thing. He doesn’t get upset or worried. He doesn’t send flowers or a card. He doesn’t hurry on His way. He just went on teaching and healing a bunch of people He’d never even met, while his friend died.
I have a problem with that. I have a problem with a Savior who doesn’t want to save His friends. I have a problem with a Savior who doesn’t love His people.
Or does He?
Check out the second paragraph… “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 said to his disciples, ‘Let us go back to Judea.'”
Wait just a minute! Maybe Jesus had something bigger in mind… Maybe He had a bigger plan that only He knew… Maybe Jesus’ love and compassion is wiser than ours…
Jesus waited two more days because He loved His friends. And He knew that they needed to experience Lazarus’ death to fully understand the resurrection. Sometimes, Jesus loves His people enough to make them wait.
Jesus knows that pain builds character and time creates patience. Jesus knows that we need our experiences, both good and bad, to reach the potential He sees in us.
So, the next time something truly terrible happens in your life and you want to just throw your hands up in the air and give up on life, stop and ask yourself if maybe God has a bigger plan. The next time you’re life turns to night, consider that maybe, just maybe, God’s loving you enough to make you wait for the dawn. Embrace it, learn from it, grow through it and worship throughout it.