As I sat in the chair close to the window where morning light usually peaks through to meet me, the passage my heart was absorbing felt as familiar as the warm taste of coffee hugging my senses. At first, as my eyes traced the words, I tried to avoid the previously dated notes from years past that comfortably rested in their etched location squeezed within the margins. I desired to hear the new word the Holy Spirit wanted to speak to me on this day, without it being tainted through the lens of words spoken prior.
But as I re-read the story, I couldn’t help but remember how it had struck me so many times before. John 11 – Mary and Martha needed Jesus, but He didn’t come. He deliberately waited two days. In everything, there is always reason for the waiting, and the meaning here is tucked into these verses:
“It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (v.4)
“Jesus loved” (v. 5)
Arriving at verse six, the key word is the very first word of the verse, the bridge between what is true and what is happening, “So”.
“It is for the glory of God…Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus…So…he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” (John 11:4-6, emphasis added)
On the very same exact date 3 years prior, I wrote in the margin, “His love was the reason for the delay.”
This seemed to be what the Holy Spirit had been reiterating to me yet again, years later, for the past few days. But what really struck me on this day, was a new truth discovered in Martha’s response to Jesus’ choice of delay.
Jesus has just arrived and He is having a conversation with her about how if He had made the choice not to wait, but to instead come, her brother would have never died.
I’m not exactly sure what she was feeling in this moment…angry because He willingly healed so many others He had never even met (they were extremely close), frustrated because it could’ve been so easily avoided, bitter because it felt incredibly selfish, doubtful because none of this felt like real love…what I do know, is how she responded…
“But even now I know” (v. 22)
Yes, if You had been here and You had chosen to do the miracle the way I wanted You to, we wouldn’t be in this situation. But you didn’t, and we’re here. “But even now I know…”
Even now I know that You love me because even now You hold the resurrection power.
Even now, you are “the resurrection and the life” (v. 25)
Even now, “everyone who lives and believes” in You, “shall never die.” (v. 26)
Even now, “you are the Christ, the Son of God”.
You see, Jesus was making a way for a bigger miracle to take place. The delay was bigger than Mary and Martha and Lazarus. And as painful as it was for Jesus to watch those He loved suffer and to know one of the people He loved was dead, and as painful as it was for them, it was for the glory of God. It was out of His love not only for them, but for all people. Miracles only come from desperate places, and the point of every miracle is always so that more may believe and that we who believe might believe more.