True confession: Sometimes I think God is the bad guy.
I mean, it’s easy to feel like He has left my friend’s young family in the lurch.
They love Jesus. They serve others generously. They work for a church, for crying out loud. And as of last week, due to some crazy circumstances, they’re effectively homeless.
They’re thankful for friends’ spare rooms. And I don’t mean to minimize the gift of still having their health and each other. But can we be honest enough to admit this still causes us to cry, “Why, God?”
Why not intervene BEFORE it came to this? What are You waiting for? Where were You? Couldn’t You have done something?
My mind jumps back to Lazarus.
Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. Yet when He heard Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days. (John 11:5-6)
Jesus finally arrived four days after Lazarus died.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” … When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21,32)
Why, God? Why didn’t you get here BEFORE he died? What were You waiting for? Where were You? YOU COULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING.
I’ve found over the years that when I start asking God why He DIDN’T or ISN’T or WASN’T, it’s a good time for me to recall WHAT HE DID, WHO HE IS, and WHERE HE WAS. Because here’s the deal you guys — whether I currently appreciate it or not, GOD IS A PATIENT GOD. Far more patient than we are.
He is patient WITH us.
And He is patient FOR us.
Don’t you think He WANTS to jump in and make everything better? Do you really think He relishes watching us wonder what in the world He is doing?
Those aren’t easy answers sometimes.
But like any good parent, God is willing to appear to be the bad guy in order to accomplish the greatest good in the life of His children.
Jesus actually said, “Lazaraus is dead, and FOR YOUR SAKE I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.”
Believing Jesus is always for our best, even if the road to belief is a painful one.
But make no mistake – God’s heart breaks over our suffering. When Jesus saw Mary grieving, “He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” (John 11:33) When He saw where Lazarus laid – dead – Jesus WEPT.
And, then. THEN, Jesus does the unimaginable. He does what He couldn’t have done if He’d come when they first called Him, because it would’ve been TOO SOON. “Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!'” (John 11:43) and the dead man came out.
Without a death, there can be no resurrection.
Be assured — just because He’s waiting, doesn’t mean He’s withholding.
Just because He hasn’t answered doesn’t mean He’s absent.
My friends are still in the middle of their uncertainty. There’s no tidy little bow to wrap this up. So, they choose. They choose each day to walk with God. Work hard. Love well. And trust their God is a good God.
Even when they don’t understand what He’s doing.