I have enjoyed reading the story of Lazarus the last several days. I shared some of this truth on Sunday as we received the offering. Here is some more revelation about this man that Jesus loved that will apply to our lives.
(1) God has a bigger and better plan in mind. Lazarus was dead four days when Jesus arrived. When the Lord waits, it's for two reasons:
(a) That He may be glorified. I found out this week while studying that the Pharisees believed that your spirit left your corpse on the fourth day after you died. So if Jesus had intervened earlier they'd have said, "He wasn't really dead." Hence He told His disciples, "This sickness is ...for the glory of God" (Jn 11:4 NKJV). It's in looking back that we clearly see God's hand at work.
(b) That our faith may be strengthened and built up. Jesus said, "I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe" (Jn 11:15 NKJV). We will always have some form of difficulty or crisis. Our next crisis will be different from our last one, but the thing that must remain strong is our faith.
(2) God will ask us to remove the hindrances and deal with the stench. "Jesus said, 'Take away the stone.' Martha...said to Him, 'Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days'" (Jn 11:38-39 NKJV). Are we praying for an answer in one area, while God's telling us to take away the stone and deal with a "stench" buried in another? Surrender, you can't win! When your heart's right with God your prayers will be answered.
(3) God wants to make us a living testimony. Everywhere Lazarus went, without even speaking a word, his life declared that Jesus is Lord. And the same should be true of us. God has saved and raised us up to be a testimony to His grace and goodness.