Does Jesus make sense?

Friday, I read John 11:1-6 and paused to think once again about the connection I’ve pondered so many times between verses 5 and 6: “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” The tiny word “so” is outright shocking to me. “So,” of course, means “therefore, consequently, as a result, for this reason.” In verse 6 it connects Jesus’ delay with His love, which yields a meaning something like this: “Because of His love for this family, Jesus didn’t immediately answer their prayer.” Jesus loved this family. They were deeply important to Him. And so, when He heard of their need, He waited. His love compelled the delay. Their importance to Him made Him wait to meet their need.

Why would His love compel Him to do that? The answer is in verse 4, where Jesus explained to the disciples: “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.”

Jesus knew His glory would shine forth more brightly in the delay than in an instant response. And that was worth it to Him, not because He values His glory so highly (although He does!), but because He valued them so dearly. He loved this family so much, He was willing to put Lazarus through death and these sisters through 4 days of mourning in order to give them the grandest display possible of His glory.

Have you ever considered that God might be allowing this hurt in your life, this unanswered prayer, this delay to show you something of Himself you wouldn’t see otherwise? And that would be an expression of His love? Have you ever considered that God is willing to put you through extreme loss in order to show you extreme glory? That if He answered your prayer sooner, it might be a sign He loves you less? That it’s more than worth it, if more pain for you makes Jesus look more amazing to you?

I wrote two important takeaways in my journal Friday morning: 1. Anything we might lose would be worth it for a better appreciation of God’s glory. 2. God’s love compels the delay in His answer to our prayers. He withholds the lesser joy we pray for in order to give the greater joy He knows will truly satisfy our soul.