Walking and Waiting

"Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days."

—John 11

Walking with Jesus beyond the first mile, into the second, will always lead you into seasons of waiting. If you don’t process seasons of waiting, you will begin to doubt God. Doubt turns to discouragement and disappointment. God may have given you a vision for your purpose in New York City—or for your career, finances, health, relationships, and family—but what do you do when you find yourself waiting for the fulfillment of the promise? This Sunday, Pastor Dan Lian shared three key points on waiting from the story of Lazarus in John 11.

He’s Still on the Way

  • John 11:4 says, “When he heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.’”
  • Waiting on God can change our view of him. When he doesn’t answer us, it’s easy to assume that he’s apathetic or powerless to our requests.
  • Mary and Martha had seen and heard of Jesus’ miraculously healing strangers, but  Lazarus is described as the one Jesus loves.
  • Jesus promises that Lazarus’s story will glorify God, so if your story doesn’t reveal God’s glory, that means he’s still on the way.
  • God’s time is not your time. So much stress and anxiety can be alleviated when you accept that you are not in control of deadlines.
  • 2 Peter 3:8 says, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”
  • As finite human beings, we are painfully aware of time, so we often superimpose our own ideas of timing on God. 
  • A name for God is Jehovah Maphalti, which means God who delivers. He always delivers on time.

He’s Present in Your Pain

  • John 11:35, the shortest verse in the Bible says, “Jesus wept.”
  • In the waiting, God doesn’t belittle or diminish your pain, but rather he’s present with you.
  • Why would Jesus cry when he’s about to resurrect Lazarus? He doesn’t miss his friend or feel overwhelmed or helpless. He cries because he’s present in people’s pain.
  • Not only does God see your struggle or your tears, but he feels it along with you.
  • This may not answer all of our questions about waiting, but it can encourage our hearts that he is with you, even emotionally, in the waiting.

He Gets the Final Say

  • John 11:43 says, “When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’”
  • Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He alone gets to have the final say of how a story goes.
  • Death, pain, betrayal and illness do not get the final say.
  • After four days, Lazarus should’ve been decaying in the tomb, but Jesus confidently declared that he wasn’t done yet.
  • Jesus isn’t scared of the stench of yesterday but knows that there can be grace and life today.
  • God has not forgotten you and will make beauty from ashes.

Dinner Party Questions

  • Have you faced disappointment in seasons of waiting? How has this impacted your prayer life and your faith?
  • What do you do in seasons of waiting? How can you actively wait on God, even when you don’t yet see the breakthrough?
  • Jesus doesn’t just see your pain but feels it. How does this compassionate, emotional picture of God affect your relationship with him?

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