This week is my birthday, and I am officially older, and have lived longer than…
The other day my son asked me, “Have you seen the new Dodge Challenger?” The sentence was short and the words were simple but the look on his face was pure wonder. It was the raw guttural response us men feel when we are impressed by the power of something or someone. I, of course, matched his enthusiasm with an equally enthusiastic growl in my voice. It took me back to the fastest car I have ever driven. It was a friend’s 1970 Challenger with a 383 cubic inch motor. It shook slightly as it idled and when I pushed the accelerator the front end of the car rose up triumphantly and shot down the road. I hate to admit it but it scared me the first time. It felt like it could careen out of control at any time. At the same time, I was drawn to that car. I feared its power but I longed to be close to it. I respected its potential but embraced every opportunity to ride in it and drive it. I never had the same response to my 1972 Chevy Vega. It got me where I needed to be but it never created a sense of awe in my. Why? It simply lacked the power to capture my imagination.
Driving that car actually helped me understand that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalm 110:11) This is the reason I continue to be in awe of Jesus. He has the kind of power that keeps me wondering what he will do next. In John 11, the friends and relatives of Lazarus got a wakeup call to his power. Come to think of it, Lazarus got a wakeup call too!
Mary and Martha honestly believed that their brother Lazarus would have lived if Jesus had gotten to their house earlier. They had sent word for Him and they expected Him to show up. When he died, they all concluded that Jesus was late. Think of it, the Son of God, the creator of time, was being accused of being late! Looking back we all know that Jesus was right on time but we are no better than they were when it comes to evaluating God’s timing. I often struggle with the belief that God is taking His time dealing with things. There are situations I think He should address right now over which He seems content to wait. My first thought is seldom, “Wow, my perspective must be off.” Instead, I tend to think, “God isn’t acting fast enough.” I know it is silly but I do it anyway. I guess I would probably have been in line with Mary and Martha.
Jesus’ first reaction was to weep (John 11:35). I believe He did this for two reasons. First, He was generally sad that his friend had to suffer death. Second, He was mourning the fact that we are so slow to grasp His power. When they should have been asking, they were accusing. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (v. 32)
In dramatic fashion, Jesus had them move the stone from in front of the grave and then shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” (v. 43) and out he came. Now that is power. More than just going fast, He overcame death! The statement that stands out to me is, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (v. 40)
“Jesus, give me the self-control to ask you what my response should be next time I get impatient with you. Give me the willingness to believe that you are always on time. Show me enough of your power to keep me humble and increase my ability to see more of your power in action.”