Summary: A new series about conversations we have with God. This will lead into a series on prayer.
Conversations with God
April 10, 2016
We're in a series called Conversations with God. Today, we're going to talk about when God seems late. Who dislikes waiting? We can’t stand waiting for water to boil. Or for a stop light to turn green. Or waiting for 30 seconds for something to warm up in the microwave? Who hates waiting on your spouse? Don't raise your hand.
The reality is, there are many of you who are waiting on God to do something.
Most of us have asked the question, "God, why didn't You do something? I don't understand." And the reality is, at different seasons of our lives, we face waiting seasons where we know God could do something, but doesn’t. We've seen Him do it in other people's lives, we have faith, and yet God doesn't do what we think He should do and we end up waiting and waiting. And it’s not easy!
Maybe you're waiting for God to provide the right job. You're ready to work, and it's just not there. Maybe you're waiting for God to do a miracle in a relationship. Maybe you're waiting for a house to sell. Maybe you're waiting for a child or a spouse to come to faith in Christ. Maybe you're waiting for a miracle in some kind of physical situation where the doctors have given you a really bad report - - - - and you're waiting and waiting. You believe God could do something and you're praying - - - yet God hasn’t done something.
One thought is this - - - a waiting season is never a wasted season. To illustrate this, we’re going to look at a story in the gospel of John 11. It’s a key story in the life of Jesus and some of His friends. It’s about 3 siblings - - Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. You could say they were really good friends of Jesus’. Like last week, I’m going to read scripture and talk about it, then keep the story moving.
1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
3 So the sisters sent to Jesus, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”
Notice the closeness of their relationship. They didn't even say Lazarus' name. They just said the one You love. That's how close they are. They are certain how this will end. We're worried about Lazarus, but Jesus is healing people and we know Jesus is going to come and heal Lazarus.
They wait and Jesus doesn't show up. The next day, they know He's going to be here, We was delayed. He'll be here by lunchtime. Isn't that Jesus? Oh, that's the mailman. We know He's coming.
The next evening comes and goes. No Jesus. Not a text, not a snapchat, nothing. They can’t believe Jesus hasn’t shown up. They believe. They have faith. While they were waiting, maybe they did something many of us do. . . they start reminding God about something He’s supposed to do for you.
I'm a good person, right? I go to church, I serve, I give money, I help others. I listen to Christian radio. That's how much I love You, God. I even tweeted a Bible verse last week. God, I did all these things, so You're going to do this for me. You were in our home. You ate my food. We’re close, right, Jesus? - - - - Jesus doesn't show up.
For those of you that are waiting right now, you're praying for something, you're believing something, you have faith God could do this and yet God is not doing something. I want to give you 2 things to remember that I hope will build your faith in the middle of the waiting season.
The first thing, is this. God's delays are not necessarily denials. In other words, just because God hasn't done it yet - - - doesn't mean God's not going to do it. Just because He hasn't answered your prayer now, doesn't mean He's not going to answer your prayer.
In fact, in verse 4, we read ~ 4 But when Jesus heard it He said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
In other words, "I know this is going on and I'm in complete control and when you get to the end of the story, you're not only going to see the purpose, you're going to see Me, Jesus, glorified through this very thing you never wanted to happen."
Remember from last week too. When God is silent, doesn’t mean God is absent! God's delays are not necessarily God's denials. In fact, sometimes we may experience kind of a “divine delay.” It's a God-orchestrated delay. In other words, God may do what you want, but He's not going to do it now because He has a different purpose. Maybe God is wanting to do something in you before He does something for you. So, He comes up with a divine delay - - with a purpose. It's what you may do with your kids. I could give you this now, but you need to learn something first before I give you this blessing.