It’s been two years since I read the story and connected in my heart to it.
It’s the story of Mary the sister of Lazarus. So real it became that day that as I sat and read the tears spilled out of my eyes and down my cheeks. Her brother was sick. She sent for Jesus – one of their dearest friends to come. Jesus got the message that Lazarus was sick, and it says that He tarried there two more days. He did not come. He waited.
The story goes on that when Lazarus dies – then Jesus goes to His friends. Mary, confused that he did not come when Lazarus as still there – and in grief of heart she runs to meet the Savior and opens her heart to the Lord and says, “If you had come – my brother would not have died..”
It was at that point in the story that I stopped my reading that day and wept. I understood her pain.
I have sat in the enclosed cubicle of an emergency room – and been handed the lifeless body of my daughter wrapped tightly in blankets - and though Mary’s’ exact words did not leave my lips – I felt them with every fiber of my heart – “Lord if you had been here – my daughter would not have died.”
That was seventeen years ago – and I have learned so much from that moment. I know – that when we are called upon to wait it can feel like God is not there.
Once again, I find myself being told by God to wait. Every day I am watching my husband’s body show signs of illness. There is weakness and fatigue that I am not accustomed to seeing. I wrap my arms around him and I feel his body shrinking (even though there is weight to loose – it is unnerving to see it leaving so quickly). All feels different.
Once again, I can relate to Mary in this story. She had called for Jesus to come when her brother was sick. I too have called out to Him and asked Him to intervene and to do something for my husband who is sick. I have been given the date for the surgery and count down the days. It seems so far away; and I know God could have given us a date on the calendar much sooner; but has chosen to allow us to wait. Mary waited after she called for Jesus to come. She continued waiting as she watched her brother’s health turn from bad - to worse --- to gone. Imagine the feelings of abandonment Mary felt the moment her brother took his last labored breath. Perhaps she laid her head down on the lifeless arm of her brother and wept till her body shook – all the while thinking, “ Jesus did not come!”
It is then, that my mind is brought back to this story and I read where Jesus tells his disciples WHY Lazarus was sick: “that the Son of God might be glorified.” He whispers these words to my heart too; and reminds me how God has received glory from other times in our lives when it appeared He had not come.
I am drawn to think about the last month. Yes, we have found a tumor – heard the word ‘cancer’ and we have shed some tears. I have had sleepless nights and anxious feelings that at times have felt overpowering. But I also can see that both Rob and I have claimed scripture; and have found in His Word promises that have brought comfort. We have prayed together more heartfelt and fervent than we normally do. We have evaluated our lives in light of eternity. We have thought about Heaven more. He already has been glorified in the waiting because in our eyes as a couple – God looks bigger – clearer - closer. Our children have asked questions of a spiritual nature that teenagers and young adults do not normally even think about. I have sat and listened to the heartfelt prayer of Zak, who despite autism, knows that God can heal his Daddy – and has asked God to do so, not once but many times each day since Rob got sick. Ah, God is being magnified in their lives as well – they too are seeing a bigger God. Eternity does not seem as far away as it did six months ago.
So once again, I can relate to Mary. I have called for Christ to come and take away the tumor, make Rob feel better, give us an early surgery date; but just like Mary Jesus has not yet come and done those things. I pull out my Bible and read the story, and I tell God again just how hard the waiting is. He takes me back to Mary and reminds me of what He has already taught me. “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” I claim the verses and surrender to the working of the Holy Spirit in my life.
I am not able, in my own strength to rest and be at peace; but when I claim His Word as truth – wholeheartedly embrace it - something miraculous happens – He gives peace! My heart IS strengthened. I am able to actively see scripture fulfilled in my life. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; then shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” I watch it happen! His presence is there and I am able to wait. As I wait He whispers – just as He said to Mary many years ago, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" And I cry out to God as He speaks to me, "I believe!" (then I quickly add as did the father who brought his sick son to Jesus asking him to bring healing) "Help thou mine unbelief!"
He is never late or delayed – always on time .Always performing in my life what is best for me.