Awesome sermon a few weeks ago…another one of those “Pastor Ray, have you been reading my blog??” sermons. It came the weekend after we found out I had those cysts and had to be put back on birth control. Think the Lord was trying to remind us of something?? :)
The passage that he preached on was John 11:17-44, the story about Lazarus. The story: Lazarus is sick, so Mary and Martha send word to Jesus telling Him about their brother. Upon hearing that His friend Lazarus is sick Jesus says, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it” (v.4 ). However, He didn’t run to Lazarus’s side to heal Him. In fact He didn’t get there fast at all! He stayed where He was two more days before traveling! He took DAYS to get to Bethany where Lazarus was. In fact, by the time He got there Lazarus had been dead for 4 days. (Rabbi’s used to teach that the spirit hovered over a body for 3 days after a person died…after 3 days there was no hope. Yet here Jesus was on the 4th day after Lazarus died…coincidence, it took Him 4 days to get there? I think not!) When Jesus gets to Bethany, Lazarus’s family and friends are mourning their loss. Mary and Martha both tell Jesus, “If only you had been here, Lazarus would not have died.” Jesus saw the pain in those He loved and “Jesus wept.” Then He says to take the stone away from the tomb! He prays to the Father, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I know that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” Then Jesus says “Lazarus, come out!” And he came out, hands and feet wrapped in linen, and a cloth around his face.
From this passage we see several things…first of all we see that He wants us to understand how helpless we actually are. (vs 15, 21, 32) Our helplessness, when we have come to the end of our rope, to the end of our resources, is God’s opportunity to get us to trust Him and not to panic.
Second, we see that Jesus understands out hurts! (v 38) Oftentimes we think that Jesus doesn’t understand what its like to be human, that He doesn’t understand our pain. If He didn’t understand our pain we could conclude that He doesn’t care about timing. But that’s not the case, He wept with Mary and Martha - He UNDERSTANDS! If He knows the pain we are experiencing, and still allows it to happen than there must be a purpose. His timing is purposeful for me and for the glory of God! (v 4)
Thirdly we see that God is not limited by the time frames and limitations in our lives. He does things in His own timing and His own way (v 4, 6, 14-15).
And lastly we see that Jesus has a reason when He doesn't answer us at our beckon and call. We live in a broken world, we experience pain. But there is a reason if God hasn’t answered my prayers in my timing. We want our prayers answered RIGHT NOW, we want to see miracles on our time table. But God has his own time table. He is not just the Creator of time, He is the manager of time…He is never early and never late. He is always right on time. His timing is ALWAYS PERFECT.