In our current world, the 21st Century there is no desire to wait for anything. Patience is no longer a virtue but a test of how long we are willing to endure a person or circumstance before the gloves come off and the real you is revealed to the world. We have lost the ability wait. We have lost the ability to stand still and see the glory of God.
We expect our prayers to be signed, sealed, and delivered before we reach the Amen. When God does not answer in the time that we think he should we feel that he has turned his back on us. When in actuality He is waiting for the opportune time to walk you into your season. You are just being delayed not denied.
THE REASON JESUS DELAYED
The sisters of Lazarus sent word to Jesus that Lazarus his friend was sick to the point of death. They believed Jesus would come and heal their brother (vs. 21, 32). But Jesus’ journey to check on his friend was not immediate. Jesus did not delay out of indifference or because he was too busy (vs. 5). Jesus knew there was a more important purpose to Lazarus’ sickness that took priority over Mary and Martha’s anxiety (vs. 4). But Jesus was in no hurry to go and see about his friend down the road in Bethany.
Why would this man that had healed so many, that had fed five thousand not go immediately to see about his friend that was inches away from death. Why would he not pack up his ministry and go perform a miracle that he had knowledge and skill to do?
Sometimes in the moments when we think God should respond quick fast and in a hurry He takes the time to allow you to endure the storm. He allows you to endure the storm not because he’s too busy; not because he does not love you, but because He loves you. We have to realize that storms come not to tear us down but to make us stronger. If we are going through a storm it is because we are capable of handling it. God promise not to put more on us than we can bear and he is true to his word. This is hard to conceptualize in the natural because to put any pressure on us is to cause what we term, “unwanted hardship”. If God showed you every one of your desires you would never make it from point A to point B and your past would be your present and your future.
Christians have to stop telling people that when they come to Jesus everything will be fine from that day forward. The reality is that the very moment you take that step to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior the devil begins implementing plans to destroy you. Why, because you are not the greatest threat to his establishment and plans to bring the heavens to its knees.
Trials come to test our faith, to test us even to the point of death. But like dreams they can never destroy us. The devil can try to distract and destroy you but the Jesus in you establishes a hedge of protection that the devil cannot tear down unless you allow him to. This is the safety clause that Jesus put into place when he came into this world, died on the cross, and rose again with all power in his hands. The bible says in Revelations 2:10 that if we are faithful even until the point of death that he will give use the crown of life. You have been delayed not denied.
But through our non-divinity we are unable to see past the present and understand what the future holds. Just as Mary and Martha we do not understand the intent of God! But Jesus was firm and even though he loved these people greatly, he put duty before friendship. Even though he loved these people dearly, he put the plan before his emotion. In the plan, they were delayed not denied. Sometimes it may appear that God does not care for his people, but in actuality Jesus being one with the father is able to see into the future and see victory in death even after rigor mortis has set in.
Lazarus was delayed not denied; his sickness was “not unto death” (vs. Jn. 11: 4). Lazarus’ sickness did result in unquestionable death, but death was not to be the permanent end result. The sickness and death of Lazarus had a higher purpose, “for the glory of God, and that the Son of God might be glorified”. This miracle would also strengthen the faith of Jesus’ disciples and many of the observers (vs. 15; 45).
Jesus referred to Lazarus’ death as a sleep (vs. 11-13). The death of saints is often considered to be sleep (Matt. 27: 52; Acts 7: 60). Such an allusion is not because death is annihilation or unconsciousness, but because sleep is incompatible with suffering, weariness, or pain (Lk. 16: 19-31). Sleep is a transitory state that one returns from at the appropriate time.
If death is sleep then the grave has not won, but is simply nothing more than a temporary place of rest. But Mary questioned the decisions made by Jesus. She questioned whether or not he truly valued the kinship that he held with their brother Lazarus.
If Jesus loved Lazarus why did he tarry when he learned of his illness? Why did this mighty Son of God fail to act in a timely fashion? Others began to question why this man that had given sight to the blind, that had given new life to so many that fell on their sick beds, deny healing to his friend Lazarus. In their mind, Lazarus was denied not delayed. But in the supernatural we are able to see that in the plan, Lazarus was delayed not denied.
Mary was suffering from spiritual blindness, which prevented her from seeing the mighty move that God was about to make. Lazarus was delayed but would not be denied. I can hear them saying were where you when Lazarus needed you the most, were where you during his suffering and pain. Do you not care that he died because of your lack of action. Where is God… where is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, does He not hear the fervent cries of his people. When our victories are delayed we think that we have been denied and we began to question the very essence of God, we began to question his love for mankind.
I can hear my grandfather’s voice so clearly as he would always say that. “ He may not come when you want him but he will be there right on time.” Delayed not denied. God is no respecter of time; he transcends time and works the impossible when time has run out. The thing I like about God is that even though man gives a diagnosis… He still has the power to give a prognosis that contradicts the diagnosis. But sometimes He has to allow the situations in your life to die before he can bless you. Sometimes he has to allow you to get into the thick of the storm before he shows you the sunshine. Sometimes he has to bring you to the point of death in order to restore you to life.
Job was a man that had everything and all things under the sun. Yet Job lost all of his earthly possessions and he was tested even to the point of death. The bible says that the flesh began to fall from his bones, but he remained steadfast to his faith in God despite the lack of belief from his wife. His wife was of the opinion that he should curse God and die. Job was Delayed but not denied.
Some of you have lost your homes, your jobs and in some cases even your husband or wife. God has to allow those things to fall off from your spirit so that he can elevate you, and bless you beyond measure. Sometimes he has to close a door so that he can open a window in your life.
THE PURPOSE OF LAZARUS’ DEATH
But Lazarus the beloved friend of Jesus was overcome by his sickness and was laid to rest. For a moment the Son of Mary was revealed past the Son of God and the Bible says “Jesus Wept”. This is the shortest yet most powerful scripture recorded in the text. The good thing about knowing God is that weeping will only endure for a little while, but at some point it has to make way for joy.
Jesus tells them to remove the stone and even though Jesus had performed uncountable miracles there was still some doubt in his abilities. Martha was hesitant to do so because Lazarus has been dead in the grave for four days and the body had already started the decaying process. Jesus says in verse 40 that all you have to do is believe and you will see the glory of God. Sometimes people of God all you have to do is believe that God can bring you out of your tombs. All you have to do is believe that He is the Son of God and you will be saved.
You see the stone represents the blockade in your life that separates you from your blessings. As long as the stone is in front of you, you can’t walk into your season. As long as it’s in front of you, it is impossible to hear what God is saying to the church. Above all else as long as it’s in front of you blessings can’t reach you.
Some call it mustard seed faith. A mustard seed almost impossible to see with the eye yet possesses enough power to tell a mountain to move from here to there and it is done in the name of Jesus. All he asks is that you have this small amount of faith in God and watch him change things. All he asks is that you take your mustard seed faith and plant it in the good ground. For the farmer knows that this small seed produces the largest plant in the garden that birds come to sit upon, your faith starts small but grows into a mighty plant.
But you see Lazarus’ death served a purpose. Lazarus was in the grave for 4 days for a reason. If Jesus had raised Lazarus from the grave within the first 3 days then there wouldn’t have been a miracle to see because this was something that the chief priests could do. The glory of God could not be revealed if it were done in the first three days. It would have been an ordinary resurrection.
But you see there was something special about the fourth day; not just because it would defy the beliefs of the people, but because it was symbolic of a new beginning. You see the number 4 represents the trinity plus one; the number 4 represents “creation”. The trinity gave the command that Lazarus in his slumber should awaken and walk among the living. The Trinity spoke life into the lifeless.
But you see even though you have received the charge to awaken there is still work to be done. When Lazarus came forth he was still bound. Sometimes even though God has called us out of our situations we are still bound because we have not let go of the situation. You don’t want to let go of that man or woman because you “love them”. You don’t want to let go of that job because you have to keep up with the “Jones’s”. As long as you hold onto whatever has you bound you cannot come forth as pure Gold.
People of God some of you today are holding on to dead situations, your holding on to dead relationships and you can make it to the next level… you can’t walk into your season because that situation is keeping you stationary.
- God is saying come, but your saying I can’t,
- God is saying walk in faith and your saying for how long and in which direction.
- God is saying trust in me and you want to run a reference check to make sure he is legitimate.
- God is saying loose that situation and let it go and your saying I can’t right now.
- God is saying step out on faith but your saying you can’t because you can’t see the floor.
Jesus told them to loose him and let him go and people of God you have to loose that situation, that bad relationship, that’s causing your unbelief that’s inhibiting your walk and let it go.
Some of you have been broken for so long; you have been traveling on a road that has no signs. And you wonder if God really hears you, if he even cares that you have given all you have and your still living one paycheck away from eviction. Jesus is calling for the stones that’s blocking you in life to be rolled away and that you walk into the land of the living. That you walk into your season. You have been delayed but you have not been denied.
(Reference: John 11)