by Bethany Kuenzli
There was a time in John 11, where a woman like me was waiting on Jesus full of the same hope and faith that He would come…until He was late.
She wasn’t infertile, but her brother was dying.
Lazarus was sick but I can imagine that Mary was believing that Jesus, the Son of God, who loved her would come for him.
JESUS, the one who raised the dead and released healing everywhere He went, would surely come for his friend.
Mary & Martha wrote to Him, saying, “Lord, he whom You love is ill.”
I can see her comforting those around her in the days leading up to his death. "It's okay guys, I know He is coming. Just wait.”
But when Jesus heard it, He said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Before we read this verse and think that God is putting us through this season so that He can receive the glory, lets put that lie to death. Death is not where God got the glory but resurrection. He is always about our healing. Your victory is His glory, not your pain.
But when He heard that Lazarus was ill, He stayed two days longer in the place where He was.
Excuse me, what? Doesn’t love come immediately on a stallion yet here, it was His love that caused Him to wait.
Have you ever gone to a restaurant and someone is seated before you that arrived after you? That is NOT FAIR and that is exactly what Jesus does in this situation. He is being called and purposefully not coming.
Wait. This is a word that we cringe hearing especially if the waiting time is unknown.
Waiting ultimately feels like our control has been stolen because that’s exactly what satan does when we encounter illness. He starts putting in files of disappointment, which births a season of reasoning.
Tormenting thoughts come in waves like:
“We’re not good enough to be parents, so that’s why God hasn’t blessed us with kids.”
“This is never going to happen.”
“God You said this would happen and it hasn’t, so you must be a liar.”
“I’m too old/overweight/impossible to be healed.”
He can infiltrate lies and steal our control, but he cannot steal God’s authority or truth.
Jesus was not manipulated by people’s burdens or controlled by time. He didn’t focus on the problem but the purpose.
So Lazarus died and perhaps her hope didn't die out instantly with him. Maybe she whispered to her friends, "It's okay guys, I know He is coming." After all He had raised the dead! It wasn't a matter of what she believed He could do, it was if He would show up.
The Jews belief spread throughout the land that the spirit lingers after 3 days of death and is able to resurrect in that time frame so when Jesus finally came on the FOURTH day, He was considered TOO late because resurrection was no longer "possible."
Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother and I wonder what their consolations sounded like?
Did they say, ”Mary, God's already showed me that He's going to raise your brother from the dead so I'm not even worried about it!”
Or, ”Mary, don't doubt the goodness of God."
Or, ”Mary, don't cry! It’s gonna be okay.”
I don’t know what things have been said to you in your season of disappointment but when Jesus finally came, Martha went to greet Him and Mary remained seated in the house. Maybe she wanted to make Jesus wait like He made her wait.
Eventually she came & fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
In that moment, He didn't put the pressure on her by saying: "Mary, if you would have faith, I will heal your brother." Or shame her by asking, "Mary, Why are you crying, don't you know who I AM? Haven't you seen my works? Don't you know, I AM HEALER?”
The shortest verse in the Bible and the most profound.
See most of us think there are two responses to pain:
Encouragement or Discouragement but Jesus did what was needed most: Empathy.
He KNEW that in a few moments He would raise Lazarus from the dead! But it was intricately important for Him to show the world how to grieve.
Fully man. Fully God. Fully grieving.
Not numbing. Not stuffing. Not denying. Not hiding. Not smiling.
Not wiping the tears from her eyes but wetting His own.
In that moment, He was healing her before He ever healed Lazarus.
What if that was His purpose? What if healing her was His glory?
In that moment, He was teaching centuries, that grief is not giving up on God. It's right there in the midst of your pain where He shows up and weeps with you. That barrenness can actually birth so much life in you.
That your pain can grip you at the same time His love can grasp you.
What an emotional experience. What an extravagant encounter.
Then Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
How long have you been in the waiting room? How many people has Jesus touched before you that have tried after you? How many prayers have been sent for Him to come?
The waiting room may be a time where you give up, get down, get jealous, get angry, and get hopeless but if you look beside you…you will see the man who’s God, crying with you, greeting you with hope again.
And your heart will begin to believe that hope isn’t a set up for disappointment but rather prophesying your future victory. And the time you get enough faith to pull out a pregnancy test and it’s negative, it is proving that you still believe that He will come!
And He will.
He may be late but love always comes.
A huge thanks to our guest author, Bethany Kuenzli, for taking the time to share her heart and her wisdom with the I Am Fruitful Community!!
More than a writer, speaker or worship leader, Bethany is a lover of God.
She lives in Mississippi with her husband Caleb and toy golden doodle Graham, where they work together as Co-Directors of a non-profit called Land of the Living. They equip a generation to connect with their heart & the heart of God by hosting "Rekindle Retreats” for all ages.
She enjoys pouring her soul out on paper with honest talk about what it means to live fully and wholly. Learn more about her thoughts on joy, pain and the life in between on her website: bethanyboone.com