Never pray for patience is what I've always heard. Why? Because we are by nature an impatient society. Have you ever noticed how long the microwave takes to reheat food when you're hungry? I am convinced that a microwave minute is way longer than an actual minute. Instant potatoes, instant rice, instant pudding, instant oatmeal, - we want God to answer our prayers as fast as we can whip up a quick meal. But God doesn't work that way.
As I was reading, in John 11 I noticed something I had never noticed before. I noticed a chapter full of grief and sorrow of a very loved brother and friend. Each person in the chapter had a different reaction to Lazerus' death. Now I can't belittle Martha's grief, because I've never grieved for a lost loved one other than my grandpa. Martha gets a lot of grief from us because she is not the best reactor to situations. She's human. And probably the most like us. Which is why we learn so much of what not to do from her.
So let's take a quick look at everyone's reactions.
First up, Jesus:
Mary & Martha sent news to Jesus that his dear friend Lazerus was sick. Upon receiving the news, he said that his sickness would not be unto death but for the glory of God. Then it says he stayed in the town he was for another two days. He didn't rush to his side to heal him, but he waited. He waited because He knew God had bigger plans.
Next to the plate, Martha:
Martha runs to meet Jesus as he arrives to town. She is so caught up in her grief, I imagine her blubbering as she speaks to Jesus. She tells him that if he had but been there, her brother wouldn't have died! Jesus calmly tells her that her brother will rise again. But she doesn't hear his words of comfort. She retorts, well I know he'll rise again in the last days. Then Christ asks her if she believes in who Christ is. Of course, she says.
Mary sat still in the house while Martha ran to meet Jesus. When they arrived, she says the same thing Martha said that if Christ had been there her brother wouldn't have died. But she fell down at his feet in a mode of worship as she spoke. I personally believe, she said this not out of anger or hurt but that she truly believed that Christ could have healed her brother if He had chose to. She was sorrowful like her sister, but she had a peace in her heart that passed all understanding.
When Jesus saw them all weeping he was moved with grief in his heart and asked to see where he lay. Then Jesus wept (or swept if you run the two words together). The Jews saw his compassion and love for Lazerus as they watched him weep over his friend. As he asked for the stone to be rolled away, Martha tries to stop him. She questions his method. But Lord he has been dead for four days and by now he stinky. (Oh, Martha, Martha! What would Jesus do without you reminding him of the obvious--don't you just love people like that?! It's hard sometimes to just close your lips and trust God.) Again Jesus lovingly reminds her that if she would simply believe she would see the glory of God. (I'm sure Martha is scratching her head by now trying to understand his deep words.)
Jesus begins to speak to God. Here's the whole application, the purpose of Lazerus' death. Don't miss it.
"...Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." (v.41,42)
God had a purpose all along, so that others may believe that Jesus was the Son of God. In verse 45, it says many believed, but verse 46 says but some went there ways and didn't believe. Isn't it amazing that Christ could raise someone from the dead and some who witness it could walk away not believing that this man was the Son of God? But are we not like the some that went there ways when we don't trust God in the midst of a circumstance? Are we not just like Martha when we read the Scriptures of God's promises to take care of His children, yet we question God's timing or methods. Sure we "believe in God" but do you really believe when all seems hopeless? It is at these times are faith is tested. How much do we actually believe God. Is your problem too big for God to handle?
Maybe just maybe God is waiting to provide your need in His time so that He can get the honor and glory from it. Are we not more thankful when we realize that it is not of ourselves that we get through trials but of God alone? May I encourage you my friend, there is no one that cares for you like Jesus. He promises to provide your every need. He even wants to give you more than you need but you must trust Him before He can bless you abundantly. Don't hold back the blessing of God by a lack of faith. Trust the One who can never let you down. Cast all your cares at His feet and leave it there. (1 Peter 5:7)
Is God's Timing Always Perfect?
Yes it is. It may not be our timing but it is always perfect. God knows your how "stinky" your situation is just trust Him. He allows us to go through trials, pain and sufferings for a greater purpose. Sometimes we may not always know the "why", and that's where trust comes in.
What to Do During the "Waiting" Period?
Find peace like Mary did and worship God. And look for ways to encourage others around you. Don't be like a Martha (sorry Martha) and be miserable.
Get your eyes off of your situation and on Christ and on others. Look for ways to encourage and be a blessing to those around you. Then you will have a joy and a peace like no other. :)
A merry heart doth good like a medicine! Proverbs 17:22
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength: Isaiah 26:3,4