4 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.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. (NIV)
Have you ever had a prayer that God didn’t answer? At least not right away and or in the way that you wanted and thought God would. Of course we all have had this experience. This is exactly what Mary and Martha were experiencing. They sent word to Jesus asking him to come quickly so that he could heal Lazarus before he died.
And yet, Jesus stayed where he was two more days. In fact when he finally does arrive in Bethany, Lazarus has already been dead for four days! Mary and Martha thought God was late. Way too late! First Martha and then Mary tells Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died!” Often times when Jesus delays the answers to our prayers we feel like he must not love us. Satan is quick to whisper that very lie in our ear. But in these verses we see just the opposite is true! It was because Jesus loved Martha and Mary and because he wanted to reveal who He truly was – God Almighty, ruler over all, even death – that he delayed.
In the chapter just before, John 10, in verse 11 Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” As the good shepherd of our lives, Jesus goes ahead of us, scouting out the best pastures and water for us. He knows us more deeply than we will ever even know ourselves. And His ultimate desire for each of us, the desire that He is constantly leading and guiding our lives toward, is for us to have a deeper more complete revelation of who He is!
The next time you have a prayer that seems like God is late to answer, ask Him, “Lord, what are you wanting to reveal to me?” See what new depths of His glory He has for you!