Have you ever felt like God forgot about you? Like when you’re caught in an impossible situation with nowhere to go, searching for the lifeline that never seems to come? Maybe your rope got stuck in the parcel post or passed through a few too many hands along the way. But it doesn’t matter. You’re in a bind and you need God. Now. But then, when you least expect it, God does show up, and contrary to your panicked thoughts, the world didn’t end. In fact, once the storm passes and you took a step back, you realized God had been there all the time. And He really did know what He was doing.
I’m always in a hurry, on constant overdrive. Not because I’m terribly ambitious, but because, sometimes, I struggle to let go of the reigns. I could rationalize this a million ways, but ultimately it comes down to lack of trust. In those moments when I fight against surrender, it’s like I forget that God is bigger than His creation, which includes my tiny little role in it.
This maybe be why I love the Bible passage about Martha and Lazarus.
In John chapter eleven, we are told that Martha’s brother is sick. And what did you do in first century Palestine when someone you loved fell ill? You sought out the Healer, of course. And I imagine if He was a close friend of the family, as Jesus was to Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, you’d expect a rather quick response. But what does Jesus do when he learns of Lazarus’ illness? He tarried, on purpose. Didn’t He love Lazarus? Verses five and six say He did: “So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, He stayed where He was for the next two days.”
When He finally arrives at Lazarus’ home in Bethany, it’s too late. Lazarus is dead. Martha is distraught, and even accusatory.
John 11:21 “Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if only You had been here, my brother would not have died.'”
Translation: God, You’re too late.
Lazarus had been dead for three days. Martha’s faith and hope had come and gone. She’d gone from fervent prayers to mourning.
Jesus’ response? I’m bigger than that, Martha.
John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life.”
You may be familiar with the rest of the story. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and God’s power was revealed. And I’m sure when it was done Martha could have kicked herself for her lack of faith. Just like I frequently kick myself for mine, but the account of Lazarus has a way of bringing me back to reality. The God that made me, that saved me, is bigger than anything I could face. And His timing is always perfect.
So what happens when God is late? Now that is a question without a logical answer, my friend. The more rational question would be, when is God late? And my response would be never, even if it appears things have regressed to the point of decay.
Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
Abandoned by her husband for another woman, Tammy Kuhn, an organ procurement coordinator often finds herself in tense and bitter moments. After an altercation with a doctor, she is fighting to keep her job and her sanity when one late night she encounters her old flame Nick. She walks right into his moment of facing an unthinkable tragedy. Because they both have learned to find eternal purposes in every event and encounter, it doesn’t take long to discover that their lives are intertwined but the ICU is no place for romance….or is it? Could this be where life begins again?
Intertwined, part of New Hope Publisher’s contemporary fiction line, is a great reminder of how God can turn our greatest tragedies and failures into beautiful acts of love and grace. Readers will fall in love with the realistic characters and enjoy the combination of depth, heart-felt emotion and humor that makes Jennifer’s novels so appealing. Readers will be inspired to find God in every moment and encounter in their own lives!