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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Waiting in Impossible Situations

As I've been reading the Gospels in my quiet time and studying the book of Isaiah for my Bible study, I've been impressed upon the Lord about the beauty of waiting in impossible situations. While reading the book of John the other day, I came across the famous story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. Even though I've known this story for a very long time, I couldn't help but see it in a different light that day. It's as if God said, "Look at the story from this perspective." It's amazing when a story you've read in the Bible a hundred times is always shown in a different light! This is how the story of Lazarus' resurrection was to me; I saw it as a prayer that was answered to an impossible situation. In the beginning, Mary and Martha offer up a plea to Jesus to help their sick brother, Lazarus. They send up a cry for help, knowing Christ could heal Lazarus. The irony of the situation was that in our mindset we would think, "Oh! I have the power to save him, so I will leave as soon as I can!" But no, it specifically says in John that Jesus loved him and that was why he waited longer to see Lazarus when he was dead. He waited because of love for Lazarus. It seems like an incomprehensible concept to allow one to suffer because you love them, but He did it out of love. Christ knew that He would get the greater glory out of raising a dead man than healing a sick man.So instead of answering Mary and Martha's prayer, He waits. And when He finally arrives, they all mourn that He came "too late." Mary and Martha wish Christ would've come sooner, not knowing that there were significant reasons for waiting. And then when Christ raises Lazarus from the dead, their prayers are answered far above what they could ask. If they would've just hoped in Christ and believed He could do the impossible, they wouldn't have wasted all that time worrying and mourning. They would've known that Christ had it in control. They would've known that there were a hundred things going on behind the scenes that they could see but God can see. The story made me realize how important it is to wait on God's timing and not despair when it seems as if He is taking too long or is too late. We must remember that God is doing things behind the scenes that we cannot see. We must be patient.

That very same day after reading that passage, I read a passage in Isaiah about Israel being redeemed from their oppressors. It was a passage of future hope, that they would soon be free from captivity. God told them that soon they would see the nations that oppressed them coming to bow down to them. Those of the children of Israel who had children forcibly taken away from themselves would suddenly have children all grown up saying, "Please let me go off and find my own land now!" God predicted that they would be blessed with the children they had lost. They would wonder at the beauty of such an impossible situation that God made possible! Even the thought that they would one day be free from captivity was impossible to them, but God told them that He would save them from the impossible situation, summing it up with the verse,

"And you will know that I am the LORD. Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame." - Isaiah 49:23

What a beautiful picture! It reminded me of us as Christians who might be facing impossible situations. We might not be able to see the future possibility of change, but God says, "No, but I can and will do the impossible." He wants us to believe in His word that He can change circumstances when nobody on this earth can. He wants us to wait expectantly, believing we will receive redemption and knowing that the outcome will not be shameful but something that was definitely worth waiting for.