God’s Unpredictable Timetable

Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that [Lazarus] was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.

–John 11: 5–6

We wish God would answer all our requests right away. But that’s not usually what happens, is it? The Bible gives several reasons for God’s silence, and one of those reasons is unpredictable timing. Sometimes God doesn’t answer our cries for help because He’s not ready to answer yet–He is doing something else that is beyond our comprehension.

We find a great illustration of that in John 11. Mary, Martha, and their brother, Lazarus, were some of Jesus’s closest friends. So when Lazarus became ill, it was only natural for Mary and Martha to send word to Jesus and say, “Your friend Lazarus, whom you love, is sick. Please come and heal him.” But their request was met with silence. Look at verses 5–6: “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that [Lazarus] was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.” Jesus waited to go to His friends until Lazarus had died. Why in the world would He do that?

When Jesus finally arrived in Bethany, Martha was ready to give Him a piece of her mind. That’s why I like Martha–she was willing to ask Jesus the hard questions. She said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (v. 21). In other words, “Why did You wait?”

You see, Jesus and Martha had different goals and, therefore, different timetables. Martha’s goal was immediate healing for her brother; Jesus’s goal was ultimate resurrection, not only for Lazarus but for everyone who would believe in Him. Jesus allowed Lazarus to die so that a few days later, He could raise Lazarus from the dead as proof that He could perform resurrection. That’s why He didn’t respond to Mary and Martha’s request for help. He wasn’t ignoring His friends. He wasn’t unaware of their suffering–He knew what was going on in their lives. But He was planning something they were unaware of.

Don’t be surprised if the same thing happens to you. Perhaps you are waiting on God to fulfill a promise to you or to intervene in your situation. You may think God has forgotten about you. He hasn’t; He knows exactly where you are right now. But God may be planning something you’re unaware of. Or He may be working in other people’s lives in order to bring about His will for you. And on a day that begins like any other, God is going to come to you suddenly and say, It’s time. God’s timetable is different from ours.

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Today’s devotion is adapted from “God’s Thundering Silence” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

 

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