Neighbors and friends gathered at the home of Mary and Martha to grieve with them – to talk, to remember and to think about the one who had died, Lazarus. Burials, at that time in history, usually took place within 24 hours of the time of death, but the opportunity to comfort and console each other continued on for many days. How many times had the words “if only . . .” been expressed by one of the sisters or a friend, do you suppose? Jesus hadn’t come to bring healing. In fact, he still hadn’t come at all and it had been several days since they had sent word to him about Lazarus’ serious illness. Now Lazarus was gone. They had buried him 4 days ago. The lingering question on their minds must have been, “Why? Why didn’t Jesus come?”
The truth is, however, that Jesus is never too late, or even late. Jesus knew exactly what the will of His Father was and no human urgency would distract Him from accomplishing His goals. It was never a matter of not caring deeply or not understanding their pain or problems. It was never that He was too busy with other people or His own agenda. It was never fear of His opponents or those who Him wanted to disgrace Him that kept Him from responding or going. Jesus knew, as the Son of God, that demonstrating His power over death was the next step in helping His disciples and the people to grasp the truths that He was telling them. How He longed for them to believe – to be totally convinced that He had been sent by God to bring the gift of eternal life to all those who would BELIEVE.
All too often we are tempted to feel just like the sisters did and to call out to God with our questions and doubts. “Where are you God? When are you going to intervene? How are you going to prevent this from happening?” The silence and the waiting are not easy for us, but Mary and Martha learned a huge lesson when Jesus did show up. So did many of their friends. A lesson that still speaks very loud and clear to all those who are willing to trust the great I AM.