A lot of times in life we pray and ask God for something or to do something, but He doesn’t seem to answer us how we wanted Him to or when we wanted Him to. We then wonder and ask “Why didn’t God show up on time when I needed Him to?” We find ourselves in the same position as Mary and Martha who both said to Jesus that if He had shown up sooner Lazarus wouldn’t be dead (See John 11:21,32). I want to point out a few things in this story that I believe will help you understand this question “Why didn’t God show up?”
1) In John 11:6 we see that when Jesus heard about Lazarus being sick, He stayed where He was at for two more days. When we first read this we immediately wonder “Why didn’t Jesus leave right away?” Why did He stay where He was another two whole days?” I believe God hears and answers our prayers immediately, but we don’t see the results of this right away. When we look at Daniel 10:12-14, we see an example of what I’m talking about. Daniel fasted and prayed to God for 3 weeks in order to receive a revelation to the vision he had seen. When the angel of the Lord finally showed up, he told Daniel that the first day he prayed God had heard Daniel’s prayer and had sent him in response to Daniel’s prayer. The angel told Daniel that he had been resisted by the enemy for 21 days and that was the reason he didn’t show up immediately. When you pray God hears and sends the answer right away, but the enemy tries to resist and steal what God has given you. The amazing thing is that no matter what the enemy tries to do, he can only delay our blessing, it still gets to us anyway!
2) We see in verse 39 of John 11 that Lazarus was in the tomb for 4 days. Now that is very significant because the belief at that time was that the spirit and soul of a person didn’t leave them until they were dead for more than 3 days. In other words, the people at that time didn’t believe someone was truly dead until they had been in the grave for 4 days. So they believed there was no way Lazarus was coming back. He was truly dead. We see that previously Jesus had healed the sick and had raised people from the dead, but never after someone had been dead for a considerable amount of time. So when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, many of the people who saw it put their faith in Jesus (See John 11:45).
3) Ultimately the reason why God doesn’t show up when we want Him to and how we want Him to is so that when He does, and He will, He will get all the glory and Jesus will be glorified (See John 11:4). There is a saying we have at NewSpring Church that “God gets the glory and we get the joy.” Remember in Isaiah 55:8-9, God thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. And God is able to do, and will do, immeasurably more than we can even ask or imagine (See Ephesians 3:20). Also, we might have already planned out what or when God should do something in our life, but His purpose will eventually prevail (See Proverbs 19:21). Finally I love Jesus’ response to Martha in John 11:21-26. Jesus tells Martha that her brother, Lazarus, will rise again and she says that she knows he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus responds in verses 25-26 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” In other words, yes that’s true Lazarus will rise again in the last day, but if you believe in me whatever that dead thing in your is, I can resurrect it right now.
So I’m asking you “Do you believe?”!!!