“I hoped that this would be different!” I have no doubt that you’ve thought or said this more than once over the course of your life. Maybe you took an elective class in high school or college that was different than you thought, going into it. Perhaps you thought that a job would play out differently than the reality you experienced. And I think that we’ve all had relationships that didn’t turn out the way that we anticipated. In all of these experiences and others, we can find ourselves disappointed and maybe disillusioned.
I’m bringing this to your attention because there’s a family in the Gospels who were disappointed with Jesus and the painful reality that He didn’t meet their expectations. I’m referring to John 11, where we read about Lazarus being sick, his sisters requesting that Jesus come to heal their brother, along with the pain, anguish and disappointment that they experienced with their brother’s death.
It’s interesting to consider that both Martha and Mary, sisters to Lazarus, said the exact same thing to Jesus. In both John 11:21 and 32, these sisters told Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” To further confirm the observations of these sisters, we read what the co-mourners say in John 11:37, “But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?”
Martha, Mary and the Jews who came to mourn the death of Lazarus all had the perspective that Jesus could have prevented the death of Lazarus, by showing up earlier and healing Lazarus from his terminal illness. But He showed up too late, from their point of view.
It’s interesting to me that Jesus purposefully delayed His arrival to the village of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, to make sure that Lazarus was really “good and dead.” When Jesus showed up, Lazarus had been dead for four days – 100% dead, with the death stench and rigor mortis. I bring this to your attention because everyone, including Lazarus’ sisters, wanted Jesus to show up and heal Lazarus before it was too late, after Lazarus died. But that’s exactly what Jesus did. He showed up when it was too late, after Lazarus had died and the opportunity for healing was no longer valid.
I want to make you aware of this experience in the Bible because I think that many of us could have the idea or premise, that Jesus needs to show up, do His divine intervention and miracle stuff before it’s “too late.”
I think that the idea of “too late” or “missing a window of opportunity” is very much a human invention. As humans, we are all too familiar with deadlines and missed opportunities. But just because we know these experiences in our human existence doesn’t mean that Jesus can’t step beyond our human parameters.
Jesus missed the opportunity to heal Lazarus from his sickness. But let’s appreciate that Jesus can go beyond or outside of just merely healing Lazarus, far exceeding our expectations. When Jesus showed up and had conversations with Martha and Mary, Lazarus’ sisters, Jesus challenged their assumption that He was “too late.”
From the verses in John 11, let’s remember that Jesus doesn’t have “too late” for His participation in our lives. To help us with this perspective, let’s decide to keep Jesus as our central focal point more than the struggles and realities that we’re navigating, like Lazarus’ death. It’s possible that Jesus doesn’t have “too late.”
This is very encouraging. I am a firm believer that with God nothing is impossible. Our God has promised never to leave or forsake us. Even in difficult times He is there. We can always take God at his word. After all he is God Almighty. I have proven time and time again that God is faithful. He has given us many, many examples of his faithfulness. Like my favourite song says: I love you Lord for your mercy never fails me. All my days I have been held in your hands. From the moment that I wake up until I lay my head. Oh I will sing if the goodness of God.
I love your voice. You have led me through the fire. In darkest nights you are close like no other.
I have known you has a Father and a friend and I have lived in the goodness of God.