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This reminds me of two elderly sisters who lived in Arcadia during my youth ministry days. One named Alpha, was always sick with some sort of ailment or another, the other, named Virginia, still worked in a county office even though she was in her late 70’s and never seemed to suffer from any kind of sickness. But the healthy sister would call me often to go to the hospital and visit her sick and dying sister. She would say, “Alpha is in bad shape. She could go any time now. Get over there as soon as you can.”

So I would drop what ever I was doing and drive 30 minutes away to a hospital in Clear Lake City to see Alpha, thinking that she surely was hooked up to machinery and on her last leg like her sister said. But when I arrived at the hospital and got into the room, Alpha would be sitting up in bed talking on the phone and watching TV. Now I’ll admit that there were many times I rushed over only to see that Alpha was no where near death, and in the end I finally learned that it wasn’t necessary to “rush” over to see Alpha. In fact, poor sickly dying Alpha lived for another 12 years after I left Arcadia. She outlived many other people supposedly more healthy than her.

This account of Jesus being called by Mary and Martha to come at once for Lazarus’ sake kind of calls to mind sickly old Alpha in Arcadia. And I noticed, that as I eventually learned to do, Jesus also felt no need to rush over there the moment he was called, although His delay was for a different reason.

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