Thursday, May 3, 2012
When God Doesn’t Come Running
“I’m sorry, but I can’t find a heartbeat.” His words hit me with the force of a wrecking ball, knocking the wind out of me once again. It wasn’t the first time our doctor said these words to my husband and me, and unfortunately, it wouldn’t be the last.
We lost three babies that year. Each time I prayed for a miracle, begging God to grant me the child my arms longed to hold. And each time, God remained quiet. No explanation. No word of encouragement. Nothing but silence.
Have you been there? Maybe you’ve prayed for the health of a loved one only to watch her get sicker and sicker. Or maybe it’s a job you seek. A job you’re starting to wonder if you’ll ever find. Or maybe it’s your husband. You’ve sought the Lord on his behalf for years. Nonetheless, he doesn’t seem to be any closer to the Lord—or to you—than he was five years ago. If anything, he’s pushed away from you.
As each day passes, you grow more and more weary. More and more discouraged. You might even start to wonder if God’s listening to your prayers at all.
I think that’s probably exactly how Mary and Martha felt in John 11.
When their brother, Lazarus, was sick, they sent for Jesus immediately: “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” Can you hear the desperation in their voices? We need you to come to us, Jesus. You’re our only hope. Please come. And hurry before it’s too late.
But look at what the text says next: “So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days” (emphasis mine). Did you catch it? Even though Jesus loved them, he didn’t come. Even though he knew that by staying put, he was breaking their hearts, he chose to let Lazarus die.
As I read through this text this morning, I couldn’t help but wonder why. Why in the world would Jesus—who loved Mary and Martha—ignore their requests for help? I guess the same thing could be asked in regard to us. Why would he ignore us?
Though there is no way to know for sure (at least on this side of heaven), I think it all comes down to this: Jesus knew the bigger picture. He knew that he would raise Lazarus from the dead. He knew that though Mary and Martha might have felt abandoned for a time, they would soon see a resurrection.
I think it’s the same for us. Though we might not be able to see what’s on the other side of our trial, he can. And somehow, he knows that the resurrection we’re about to witness is worth the tears of today.
One month after our third miscarriage, God showed my husband and me why he hadn’t answered our prayers for a miracle. A fifteen-year-old girl asked us if we would adopt her baby boy. Two months later, we came home from the hospital with the newest addition to our family.
God didn’t answer our prayers for a baby in the way we thought he would. But he certainly hadn’t walked away. His silence didn’t mean he stopped caring. Instead, it simply meant that he was busy working on something else. Something that never would have happened if he came when we first called.
Lindsey Bell is a non-fiction author, stay-at-home mother to two wonderful little boys, wife, and blogger. Her first book, a parenting book called Searching for Sanity, is being shopped by her agent, Blythe Daniel. You can find Lindsey online at any of the following locations:
Her main blog: www.lindsey-bell.com
Her miscarriage blog: www.livingwholeagain.blogspot.com
Facebook: Lindsey Bell