But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. -- Jeremiah 17:7-8
A few days ago, I found myself sitting at my desk during lunch, completely stumped.
My Bible app was open and my notebook draped across my knees. And I was racking my brain, trying to figure out what God wanted me to impart to the women in my sorority’s Bible Study for one of the last meetings of the semester.
At one point, I looked down at my notes (none of which made any sense) and got super frustrated with myself.
And it was at that moment that Jesus whispered the name “Lazarus” to me.
Looking up at His face, I thought “Lazarus, huh?”
Pulling up John 11 on my phone, I leaned forward and began to read through the semi-familiar story. At the end, I sat up and said “Huh, Lazarus.”
Then, He began to break down the story for me.
Jesus pointed out that He was reminded over and over that “if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21).
Then, Jesus drew me to the detail in verse 39, when Mary tries to warn Jesus about the smell they would encounter upon removal of the stone.
“All the better to show everyone how powerful our God is,” Jesus said to me.
Jesus also pointed to His voice in verse 41: “‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me.’”
“He heard me, but He told me to wait,” Jesus whispered.
God told Jesus to wait two whole days before coming to Lazarus.
“This is why,” Jesus said to me.
If God is love, He explained, as well as the Author and Creator of all eternity, it’s impossible for Him to do anything at all without love.
So, God told Jesus to wait out of love.
Because He loved Lazarus and Mary and Martha and everyone in attendance at the funeral so much, He told Jesus to wait.
Because waiting would mean bringing more people back to the Father.
Because waiting would mean introducing these men and women to a living God whose love for us transcends both death and grave.
God’s perspective is far bigger and wider and more in-depth than anything we can imagine. Because of that, it’s with confidence that I can say everything truly does happen for a reason.
And in no way am I saying that I don’t struggle with this myself.
Sometimes, I look at my surroundings and panic.
I get scared that I’m not where I’m supposed to be, I begin to doubt the promises He’s made me, and I worry that nothing is ever going to change. And that’s when I revert back to when I was a little kid: covering my eyes, so as not to see the “scary” anymore.
But in doing that, I shut out Jesus, His word and His truth.
And as I sit here writing this devotional, I fear too many of us react in this same way: throwing up our hands and shielding our eyes to what God is doing in our lives.
And even more so, to the face of Jesus, standing right before us, hands outstretched, ready to lead us into His future.
So, my challenge to you: Expect the unexpected. Delight in His goodness. KNOW, really know that His plan for you is at hand.
Regardless of any sort of time table.
Because Jesus is wearing a watch and God is always on time.
What are God’s promises for your life? If you’re not sure, first, ask Him. But then, ask yourself: have you been open to them? Or, have you been closed off to His whispers in an effort to protect yourself from getting let down?
Do you believe that God designed the plan for your life before you were born? Even before He created you in the womb (see Psalm 139)? Do you believe that He loves you so much that everything in your life has been ordained by our good, good Father?
Jesus, I thank You that You go before me, reaching Your hand back to grasp mine as we walk into the future. I thank You that You stand behind me, guiding me back on track when I stumble. I thank You that Your spirit lives inside me, inspiring me to work with you toward the dreams you’ve planted in my heart. I thank You that You love me in ways and magnitudes that I can’t even begin to fathom. In this moment, I ask for an increase in faith, hope and love. And patience. Give me eyes to see Your goodness and ears to hear Your promises. I agree with Your plan for my life. And I understand that “waiting” doesn’t mean I’m stuck. Thank You for giving me the opportunity to use my story to glorify Your name. It’s in Your great and mighty and beautiful name that we pray. In Jesus’ name, amen.