When Jesus Delays – by Desmond Ford

Mar 3, 2016 1625

When Jesus Delays“Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death” (John 11:3-4).

You know there are times when God seems to be leading us astray. The sickness was unto death, yet Jesus said, “It’s not unto death.” Why? Because Jesus always looks at the ultimate. You and I are too much moved by the immediate, the present. It is hard for us to see the ultimate and weigh things by the end.

If you were in a fight with Mohammed Ali, and you knew that you were going to win in the tenth round, you could put up with being knocked down occasionally as long as it was going to come out all right in the end. The Christian has that hope. But we are so deficient in faith, we so often look to ourselves and circumstances, that we don’t get the comfort we should. Christ always looked at the ultimate. “This sickness is not unto death.” It was only going to be a sleep for Lazarus.

Please observe that Jesus was going to give them something better than they hoped for. If he had gone to Bethany, then he would have raised Lazarus from his bed. Instead, he went later and raised him from the grave. Which was greater? Which was most for the glory of God? Jesus had saved some people from the grave within a matter of hours of their death, like Jairus’ daughter. On another occasion it was about a day after death when a young man was taken out of the widow of Nain’s home. So Jesus could have done for Lazarus what he did for a few. But he didn’t. He did something for Lazarus that was unique.

God wants to do something special for all of us. He wants to do something unique for and in and through everyone of us. We are all different. As soon as we were born into this world, our work was born with us. God made us as we are by talent and gift. We have no more reason to be proud of our IQ, our beauty, or our abilities, than the colour of the hair we were born with. Whatever we are especially proud about, that thing is a “given.” As soon as we were born, God had something planned for us, something to do that we only can do as we grow. But we grow by pain, which comes most when the blessing of God seems delayed. Time has an irreplaceable part of our growth.

If there is a heavy weight on something resilient, as soon as the weight is removed, the thing that is resilient springs up as though the weight had not been there. If there is something filthy, you must soak it in the cleansing stream for a long time. God has to delay his answers to some of our prayers in order to give us the best answer.

To see the love of God in the delays of God is a mark of Christian maturity. I have often failed to see it. We human beings find the Christian walk like the ordinary walk, a continually interrupted falling, and, therefore, the need of doing what Scripture tells us again and again – looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. When we see what he is, we will interpret circumstances in the light of his heart instead of interpreting his heart in the light of circumstances.

– Des Ford. Rom 8:27-32. Adapted from “When God is Silent.”

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