Waiting does not come easy for me. Thoughts rush to my head about what could happen rather than what is currently happening at the moment. I think about all the different scenarios and try to get a plan based on where I think things are going.
Waiting prolongs the process. Waiting interrupts my rhythm. Waiting is not fun.
Jesus had a different perspective on waiting. The story of Lazarus (John 11) serves as a great reminder when I am suffering with anxiety caused by waiting for my plans to produce fruit. In the waiting process, God is growing my faith and redeeming the brokenness of my heart.
Jesus grew the faith of Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus had died. He waited four days after Lazarus had died to come visit them. I’ve heard the reason for this is that the Jews believed a soul hovered over the body for three days before going to Sheol. So at this point, Mary and Martha believed that their brother was gone.
When Jesus casually strolls up to see Martha, her response is blunt and honest: “If you were here, my brother would not have died.” Although it looks like she’s reprimanding Jesus for not being at her side when her brother was sick, she is actually exercising great faith in that she knew He could have healed her brother. She also was honest with how she felt. She wasted no time with pleasantries as she expressed her sadness and anger at Jesus’ obvious delay in helping her brother. Jesus has a conversation with her that grows her faith, and as you’ll see later in the story, He ends up fulfilling the desires of her heart.
But lately, God taught me something special about this story, the beautiful news that is for me and for you. Martha went to find her sister. I noticed that Mary, the one who had sat at Jesus’ feet, the one who had chose “what was better,” did not meet Jesus when He came to visit. She was at home. Does that mean she had chores to do, that since Jesus had disappointed her that she wasn’t eager to sit at His feet? Does that mean that she was speaking to those who had come to give their condolences? We’re not completely sure, and I may be reading a lot into it, but she demonstrates a different attitude from how we had seen her earlier in the gospel of John, sitting at His feet and soaking up His words.
Mary is about to hear the news that could melt her heart of stone.
When Martha looked for her, she said: “The Teacher is here and is looking for you.” Jesus, the one who had taught Mary how to trust in God, was looking for her. He wanted her to sit at His feet again. Only this time, He would be teaching her through example.
Even when we are obedient to God, diligent to sit at His feet and learn from Him, He still may have a waiting period in His plan for us. In the midst of our waiting, God is right there with us. The one who teaches us is waiting for us to trust Him. The one who loves us is looking for us as we wander around, waiting for our next step. He is waiting for us to sit at His feet again. He is waiting to grow our faith. He is waiting to do the impossible in our lives.
As we all know, Jesus does the impossible for Martha and Mary. He brings back Lazarus from the dead. Despite their lack of faith, and despite the fact that Lazarus had been dead for several days, Jesus is able to perform this wonderful miracle.
What are you waiting for? Let me encourage you that nothing is out of God’s ability. Jesus, the teacher, the one who wants you to grow from this experience, is here, and he is looking for you. Put yourself in a position where He can find you. Sit at his feet, and listen to his teaching. It is only a matter of time before He will do the impossible in your life.