In His safe refuge on the far side of the Jordan, Jesus received a message from Mary and Martha about their brother Lazarus. “Lord, Your dear friend is very sick.”
On receiving this message, Jesus declared that the Lazarus’ sickness would not end in death, but would bring glory to God and to the Son of God. And then, although He loved Martha, and Mary, and Lazarus dearly, He remained where He was for two more days.
This experience of waiting on Jesus can be one of the hardest for us as Christians. We know that Jesus has the power to do what we need, and what we are requesting of Him. We know, too, that He loves us, and that our request is in agreement with His will, as He has stated in His Word. It’s the timing that we so often get hung up on. As Martha and Mary said to Jesus as He arrived in Judea, “If only You’d been here, my brother would not have died.”
In their moment of need, Martha and Mary knew Whom to reach out to for help. Jesus had demonstrated, time and again, both His ability and His willingness to heal the sick. The timing details recorded in John indicate at least a one or two day journey from Bethany (where Lazarus lay sick) to the place where Jesus was on the other side of the Jordan. Conventional wisdom would demand that, once the message was received, Jesus would set out immediately to help. Yet He waited for two days.
In our limited perspective, we see only our need and our Jesus as the answer. We do not understand the timing of God (how could we?), nor do we see the bigger picture of the entire will of God. The periods of waiting on Him can be very difficult, a test of our faith in the person and character of Jesus.
But when His perfect time is come, and He acts on our behalf, our faith is strengthened in ways we never could have imagined; God is glorified, as His will is carried out, not only His will for us, but for many others involved in the situation as well.