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9th April, 2016

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"Why Jesus Delayed"

While His love for His Church (Lazarus) is not in doubt, His action raised a conflict - in several hearts. This is probably because we cannot see as He sees. Our own understanding of love and care is from a different lens other than His own.

“So when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, “let us go to Judea again."
John 11:6-7 NKJV

This is very confusing, more so that the scripture pointed out that “So when He heard that he was sick,” it was not deliberate. It was not because He was ignorant of Lazarus' sickness nor the pains and the decay that crept all over him... He knew that Lazarus was facing dark moments, yet He stayed two more days in the place where He was... He stayed put. He remained unmoved and unnerved about the urgent message sent to Him by sisters Mary and Martha whom He also loved. Isn't it a conflict in our hearts that we have prayed and fasted for the LORD to intervene in the decaying situation of the Church - in several lands - most especially in Europe, yet He stayed away? He kept facing other directions, as it were. It is painful that many intercessors cried to the LORD at the very beginning of the sickness and He stayed away until this moment when everything is dead and stinking. Some wept sore, looking on the way, if He would suddenly appear... He did not come until they also fell asleep. Others got frustrated and began to deny the genuineness of His love. They became embittered against the LORD and the Word of His promise. We have had many questions, many dark moments, many doubts; simply because of His delay. Many of us have had to review our theology and have quietly deleted any hope of revival. We went into the theory of “dispensationalism” and fatalism. We concluded that this is the apostasy prophesied about. Others felt, God is not going to revive these old Churches anymore; let us better begin new ones. All of these are because we did not see as He sees. His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are not our ways. We see dimly, He knows the end from the beginning. Look at what he saw concerning this situation, and what He still says about His church even today.

“When Jesus heard that, He said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it."
John 11:4 NKJV

This sickness is not unto death! And that is the verdict from Him who Himself is the Resurrection and the Life. He calls the things that are not as though they were. He speaks to wombs that were long barren and there springs forth life. It is enough to see His own perspective. This sickness that has come upon us ( and upon His Church severally) is not unto death - Modernism, Secularism, Pluralism, Humanism, Socialism, Communism, Hinduism and all the 'isms' you can coin out that have come like germs and infections against the Church in our time. They are biting so hard. Some have even gone so deep into the fabrics of the church leadership, attacking her from her very roots. Every passing day it seems this sickness will finish Christ's Church. But, let me re-echo this again as I hear my LORD declare very firmly: “This sickness is not unto death.” “The gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church.” He is coming for a victorious and glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle.

“...But for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

This deadness is not the end of the story. There is a glory coming forth: the glory of God in our uttermost weakness. Roses come forth brightly out of thorns. Light shines brightest in the darkest darkness. Even in this complicated situation all over the world, the Son of God will be glorified.

First, we must note that this was His first comment as He heard that Lazarus was sick. He saw the end from the beginning. The end of the matter is what matters most...and it is that the Son of God will be glorified through it. Even as we follow the LORD Jesus into the ministry of waking up His friend Lazarus, we must do so with our eyes and our hearts fixed on the end he has in mind. Whatever intervening conflicts we find; whatever stiffness has come upon His Body; whatever disintegration has taken place is not the end of the story. We must learn to see as He sees, so we can walk along with Him as calmly as He would. Though we would love to rush on to the scene and perform some acrobatics... He takes firm steps in divine timing, with confident knowledge of the end before it all began. It is wonderful to gain a deep insight into the heart of the LORD. The Church is not going to die out... She will spring forth again and the Son of God will be glorified on earth, even through the Church.

“...That the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

This “Lazarus” (the church) must still play a key role in bringing glory to the Son of God. She would silence the gainsayers and subdue the principalities, while by her and through her “the Son” shall be glorified.

Let this settle in your heart, my beloved brother and sister. Those who labour in God's vineyard must do so with this assurance. There is going to be a revival: a rising up; a breaking forth from the tomb; a rolling away of stones and tearing away of grave clothes... a gathering of men and women into the kingdom, because of the revival of this “Lazarus” - the Church. Even if “Jesus stayed two more days in the place where He was,” let us just follow Him confidently. Wherever He goes now and whatever He goes back to Judea to do, let us follow Him... this is the point of trial for several of us... can we follow Him back into Judea again... can we endure staying while He stays two more days at the same spot, as if he is stagnant? Can we endure a seeming dryness in ministry while we watch our “Lazarus”- friend and brother die? We may be tempted to rush and try to do some more massaging, just to satisfy our emotions that we are doing something. Yet, our only wisdom is to stay where He stays, to go to any Judea He wishes to go back into until He is ready to go and wake up His friend.

I pray that henceforth, I will only walk in step with Him. Even if I go ahead of Him, I can only shake the dead body and do no more... His coming is the answer to this death... He knows what to do and when to do it.