When Lazarus was terribly ill, his sisters sent word for Jesus to come. he would be the best person to care for Lazarus. Once their brother was well again, life would go back to normal.
Knowing how the story would end, Jesus didn’t panic when he received the urgent message. Something greater was at work. When He finally starts heading towards Bethany, Jesus is fully aware of what awaits Him. Though their dear brother lay not in his bed but in a tomb, Jesus was coming with the ultimate plot twist for Martha and Mary.
In our moments of need, it stings when we pray and God doesn’t respond as we hope. It hurts to be told ‘no’ or to have His response delayed. We even rehearse the scenes in our minds of how it looks when God steps in to rescue us.
If God uses mottos, one of them might be this: If not now, then later.
Jesus meets mourners, including a pair of devastated sisters, upon His arrival in Bethany. This whole moment was avoidable had Jesus just come when they called. Assuring them that He is able, Jesus persuades them to open the tomb. Adamantly refusing at first, eventually, the stone was rolled away. When Jesus called Lazarus, he walked out. Alive, restored to full health!
If not now, then later.
One concept that continually challenges believers is God’s timing. When we have a need, it’s an immediate priority. To us, God should respond as we want, and when we call. But in showing up later, when the need no longer seems to be there, Jesus is able to do a bigger miracle.
Had Jesus come when Martha and Mary sent for Him, Lazarus’ healing may not have been regarded as spectacular. After all, Jesus had a reputation for healing sick people. But to see Him raise someone from death helps us to have a new appreciation for what He is able to do.
Though they were sad and upset, Martha and Mary still clung to Jesus. They didn’t send Him away when He arrived. They didn’t ban Him from their town or demand that He leave, writing Him off as a friend. When we’re sad and upset, keep clinging to Jesus. Keep talking to Him, yelling, and crying if you have to.
If not now, then later. We will be grateful for His timing and give Him all the glory.
by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Henderson Highway Church Communications Director