Have a quick read of John 11:1-44.
Mary and Martha send word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus is dying. Jesus does not up and go as expected. Instead, he intentionally delays!
By the time He gets to Bethany, He is, from a human perspective, 4 days too late!
Does this sound familiar? Have there been times in your own life; in your own experiences where you’ve prayed and you’ve prayed – but God delayed.
- How many have prayed for healing to come to a precious loved one – and it didn’t come!
- How many have prayed for that breakthrough in a marriage situation – but it did not come!
How many know that sinking feeling; your grip and hold on hope is slowly but surely weakening. That which you were once anticipating with excitement, does not look like it is going to eventuate.
Well, friend, if that is you today, I'd like to take moment to remind you:
God’s Delay Does Not Necessarily Mean God’s Denial
I've heard it said by some: "God does not always answer prayer.” I was thinking about that. That statement is true if we believe God’s answer is always YES. If we accept that God does also sometimes say NO, then we can correctly state that God always answers prayer. Whether YES or NO – it still an answer.
Of course, there is a third way our prayers can be answered – and that is NOT RIGHT NOW! JUST WAIT A LITTLE!
When God answers this way – “Just wait a little!” - It does not mean that He’s denying or saying “No”! What it means is that what you are asking is not for this season. From your and my limited perspective, we may believe that that which we are asking is what we need right here and right now. But our Heavenly Father, Who knows the beginning from the end; the One Who orchestrates the seasons of life, knows best.
So that delay; that “Not right now!” does not necessarily mean a denial – it could be meaning: “Hang in there my child! I’m busy doing or about to do something on a deeper level than you are able to comprehend. You are concerned with the little things, I’m taking care of the big picture.”
Like His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts not our thoughts, so too is His timing not always our timing.
“Mary & Martha – I received your message to come four days ago. I chose to delay.
Not because I was saying no, but because I am about to do something in the life of your family and in the life of this community of Bethany, that will echo throughout eternity.”
Could He be saying to you today: "My Child, my precious child! I have heard your prayer - you have laboured, you have prayed and it seems there is no answer! Please trust Me! Hang in there a little longer. No eye has no ear has heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, what I am about to do! Trust me with the big picture!"
Friend, don’t misinterpret God’s delays as His denial! Remember, He is always on time!
Lord, at times I'm impatient,
Find it hard to wait, though I know that I must;
Help me today, to keep eyes fixed on you,
To quietly, confidently in You trust
(PS. A full length sermon on the topic: "Do Not Mistinterpret God's Delays" can be listened to here.)