We’ve all been there. Our fight seems to drag on, and the answer to our prayer does not arrive. Soon it will be too late. What is God doing? Why does He take so long to respond to us?
When we come close to concluding that God is late in responding to us, we must turn to the story of Lazarus. “Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “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.” 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. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again” (John 11:1-7 ESV).
One thing is certain, Jesus had a special attachment to this family. The sisters said: “The one you love is sick”. We too often approach the Father in our prayers based on our affection. “Lord, you know that I love you, you see my works for you, give me this favor…” And it’s true that God loves us! He does want to see us happy, and He has all the power to do it. We know we don’t deserve His favor, but since we love Him, we hope it will weigh in the balance.
It is because we mix our requests with our affection that we also hurt when the response is delayed. As human beings, when we love someone, and that person has a need, we rush to meet it. Therefore we imagine that it will be the same thing with God. So, when a response is delayed, our first reaction is to question God’s love for us or ourselves (“What did I do wrong?”). Admit it, Singles, you’ve felt this pain before.
Since we associate love with the answer, we are horrified to read 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.” What?! “I like them so much I’m not going to go there right away.” That makes no sense to us mere mortals.
That’s the difference. Jesus did not have a human perspective on the situation; He had an eternal perspective. He saw a bigger picture than the immediate situation. It takes a lot of practice to be able to see beyond our present. Even the apostle Paul needed practice! “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9 ESV).
We must stop waiting for the answer to our prayer to be happy. It is not by answering our prayer that Jesus proves His love towards us. His affection for us does not change according to the circumstances of our earthly life. God’s love has nothing to do with answers to our prayers. To live in peace, we must learn to place our needs in the hands of God and also leave the solution to Him. “Lord, right now I have this need. I know you love me and want to meet my needs. I also know that you are capable of doing anything. But I also know that your plan for my life and those around me is bigger than my plans. Lord, I give you my need so that you may be glorified.”
Is God glorified by your singleness or is this just a problem you are trying to solve? If God used the death of Lazarus to glorify Himself, He can certainly use your singleness to amaze you and positively influence the world around you. God is never late. His plan is bigger than our lives. And He doesn’t love you any less if the response is slow. Be reassured by His love and abide in His peace.