I Expected More

25 06 2013

Have you ever felt like God is holding out on you? You’ll have to stand in line to file your complaint. There are many people ahead of you. Two such ladies are Mary and Martha…

Mary and Martha loved their brother, Lazarus. So did Jesus. It seemed a no-brainer that when Laz got sick, He should be called for. The expectation was that Jesus would drop everything He was doing and rush to the aid of this beloved friend.

Instead:

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.” (John 11)

Huh?

Jesus loved them…so He stayed where He was for a couple more days?

He knew Lazarus was in critical condition. The “right” thing for Him to do would be to go fix the problem, I would think. After all, He’d been busy healing people all over the place! He’d even healed one or two from a distance with just a word.

Not this time.

After two days, Jesus said, “Let us go to Judea again….our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”

The disciples thought, “Duh! He’s sick. Leave him to sleep it off!”

“Then Jesus said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe.”

Can you see the quizzical looks the disciples must have exchanged? Lazarus is dead  – and You are glad?? (It’s interesting that we only pick out bits of what others’ say when we’re distressed.)

Upon their arrival, Martha hot-footed it out and chided the Lord, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Jesus told her that Lazarus would rise again. Martha’s response dripped with sarcasm, “I know, I know. We’ll all be reunited in heaven one day. I don’t want that. I want my brother right here. Right now. You could have prevented this. You let us down. I thought You loved us.”

Ever been there? Life’s events seem senseless. The Lord could have stepped in and prevented our trauma, abuse, pain, but He didn’t. We feel like He held out on us.

The heart-breaker for the Lord was, I believe, when Mary came out and He had to go through the conversation a second time. This was Mary, who sat at His feet and hung on His every word – soaking it up like a sponge.

What did these two know about Jesus thus far?

He changed water into wine.

Demons were cast out.

Peter’s mother-in-law was healed.

The blind received their sight.

He fed 5,000 with a little boy’s sack lunch of fish sandwiches.

He walked on water.

Lepers, paralytics, and diseased were made whole.

They had “head knowledge” about Jesus. It wasn’t enough to hold them during this, the greatest trial of their life, though. They had “seen” the goodness of the Lord, but had not yet experienced it for themselves.

After talking to Martha and telling her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die,” He asked, “Do you believe this?”

Martha rattled off the “proper” religious response: “Yes, Lord. I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is come into the world.”

Immediately after, she went to find Mary. Along the way I wonder if she was saying under her breath, “Big whoop! What difference does that make? Lazarus is still dead – and You didn’t come in time to save him.”

That would have been my response.

(Do not miss the fact that Jesus wept. He takes no delight in our sorrow, pain, or misery. He hurts when we do. We live in a broken world where there is sin, disease, and death. There is no way to get through this world without experiencing pain in some shape or form. He longs for the day when this will no longer be a part of our existence. For now, though, it is…and He weeps.)

There were many times in my life when I thought Jesus should drop everything and come to my aid: abuse, illness, death, despair. At those times, He seemed to turn away in indifference and go on doing whatever it was He was doing. I believed He really didn’t care.

Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20, though. From the other side of nearly every one of these events I see the wisdom of His delay.

Something in me had to die:

Self-sufficiency

Pride

False gods

Only then could Jesus resurrect me to new life once again.

He was willing to let me feel disappointed in Him. God is not a people-pleaser. Like any good parent, He is willing to let me fuss, fume, and wallow in my limited understanding.

He firmly believes that “Parenthood is not a popularity contest.” He’s big enough to stand firm when I hate His guts. He is committed to my best, willing to take the heat and be misunderstood. His plans for me are for good and not for evil, and He knows that I will eventually “get” this.

He’s patient and will wait out my storm, especially when…

…I expected more.

Don’t miss the rest of the story. Spoiler: Lazarus lives! Read about it in Waking the Dead  and Don’t Make Me Naked

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11 responses

25 06 2013
Heidi Viars

Thanks for this post. … I think we live largely with entitlement issues … God should do something when we experience this incredible force of sin on our lives. Consequences of our own sin, those of other people’s sin, pain from a groaning earth shown in sicknesses and diseases, and then when the enemy presses in on us, are realities we live with because of the fall. We think we are entitled to God’s rescue and stand in line at His complaint department when all along we are reaping exactly what we are entitled to …
BUT GOD, in His amazing grace did the only thing that would rescue us from this fallen world, no not for this place, but for eternity with Him.
Thank you SO MUCH for always pointing us to the Word and His promise, namely to save us, if we look to HIM.
Blessings sister … and sorry for the ramble … just got out of Bible study and still had words left 🙂

25 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Loved your ramble! Feel free to chatter here any time! I’m like that after worship practice. My husband has learned to let me unwind by using my leftover words at him…so long as I don’t require many responses! 😉

\o/

25 06 2013
cshowers

Tami,

What a wonderful interpretation of this scripture. I look forward to reading tomorrow’s post.

Love,
Cheryl

25 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

This post was fun to write. It just kind of “bubbled up” out of nowhere…both parts, one after the other. I think there’s actually a third one in the works. That’s unusual for me!
\o/

25 06 2013
cshowers

Hallelujah! I look forward to reading it!

25 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂

25 06 2013
annabachinsky

“He is committed to my best, willing to take the heat and be misunderstood. His plans for me are for good and not for evil, and He knows that I will eventually “get” this.” So true! God is misunderstood so often because He doesn’t make things happen the way we expect Him to but even when life doesn’t make sense we can always trust Him knowing that everything He does is always for our best.

Great post! I needed to be reminded today that God’s ways are usually not our ways. Thank you! 🙂

25 06 2013
vonhonnauldt

Ah, Tami, God has “held out” to me so many blessings because of His grace and mercy that I have no right to complain. This, of course, hasn’t stopped my childish, filthy pride from doing so.

Thank you for this post.

25 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂

How is your soul, dear brother?

\o/

25 06 2013
Raven Ruckus

This is probably my favorite post of yours that I have read so far. I’m not so sure if I see the wisdom in allowing abuse of children causing them to spend their lives in confusion and pain and some never being able to climb out of that but I still love this post it has got me thinking :).

25 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

To be honest, there are many things about God’s way of doing things that I don’t understand. There were countless times in my own history when I expected Him to show up…and He delayed. I honestly thought He didn’t care.

Many years later, I begin to understand (a little). That little bit I “get” helps me trust His heart.

Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate your input. 🙂

\o/

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