Because He Loves
Out of all of the lessons that God has taught me—all of the areas that He has transformed—patience is one of the most difficult lessons to learn. While I was waiting, some days impatiently, for Joe to get sober and for the promises that God spoke to come true I could often find myself joking that “God was teaching me patience. I wish He would hurry it up already.”
I wish I could say that I learned that lesson with grace and poise and that I looked just like Jesus every day that I waited but that would be a big fat lie. Some days I felt like God drug me kicking and screaming. Some days I threw more tantrums than I sang praises. But at the end of the day, when I laid my head on the pillow, whether it was a good day or a bad one there was this hope that I carried deep within my heart that what He said would come to pass—that there was a purpose in the waiting.
Fast forward three years and a half years and I totally see the purpose. I get the privilege of living life with this wonderful, sober man and I am so grateful that I waited. I am so grateful that I listened and that I trusted God’s timing. So grateful that I learned that whole patience lesson so we can move on to something more fun and less horrible…right?!
Nope. Not right. Not at all.
I think there honestly was a point where I was all like, “Yup, I totally got this patience thing down. I am the queen of patience.” More like the queen of delusion.
I still stumble my way around impatience from time to time, some seasons more often than others but while I won the battle for sure the war still rages on. While I realized quite quickly that I was not on the fast track to being dubbed Amanda Saint of Patience, I also needed to realize that the work that God did in me in that season of waiting was still that…work that God did in me. There was purpose and progress and growth and my next battle to wait for His timing did not mean that all was lost and I was suddenly some horrible backslidden loser who never gets anything right.
See I can be a woman of extremes. Often I am either I am killing it or I am being slaughtered. I know there has got to be a middle ground in there somewhere but somehow it eludes me more than I would like to admit.
But anyway, I digress…patience.
“But when Jesus heard [this,] He said, "This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it." Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days [longer] in the place where He was.”
- John 11:4-6 NASB95
This is from the section when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Jesus had just received the message that His friend, whom He loved, was sick. Instead of going right away (or even healing Him instantly from a distance), Jesus waited.
That blew my mind the first time that I read it…because Jesus loved them He waited.
What kind of love is that? To us that doesn’t really look like love does it? It surely didn’t to Martha when Jesus finally made His way back into town. On the surface, that looks like indifference or callousness. But just as we are tasked with being patient, our Lord is patient as well.
You see we serve a patient God—a God that waits for just the right timing. I once heard a speaker say that “God runs by a weird watch. He is never late but He missed plenty of opportunities to be early.” That’s what happened here with Lazarus.
If Jesus would have healed Lazarus, that would have been a miracle but not of the same caliber. Even if He would have raised him from the dead on the first or second day it still would not have carried the same amount of weight. Lazarus needed to be dead for four days so that there was no question of it being a mistake. It needed to happen this way for the maximum impact. Because He loved them Jesus waited.
Cool story right? It’s a beautiful and impactful truth that reads nicer when you’re not in the middle of a Jesus waiting moment—when you’re faith and patience aren’t being tested.
I’m in one of those moments right now and honestly, I wish that Jesus would just show up already. It feels like my patience and faith are being tested on every side but today took the cake.
I’ve been dealing with a broken tooth for the better part of a year. It took months to get a surgery referral and over ten months waiting for my appointment. All the while it would flare up with infections and pain. Last week it got infected worse than it had ever been before. It was infected to the point that I couldn’t even talk it hurt so bad. But the whole time I thought, “It’s gonna be okay, I just have to get to my appointment and I can finally be free of this pain.”
Well, today I had my appointment, I walked into the medical building where the surgeon's office was to find an empty reception desk and a dark office behind it. I had gone to the wrong office. My appointment was scheduled at one over an hour away from where I had gone and there was no way I could get to the right office in time. Devastated I called the other office sobbing with a throbbing tooth. The receptionist told me that they were booked out until March but the poor lady must have felt terrible for me so she pulled some strings and got me an appointment for 8 days from today. Thank God!
I say all of that not for sympathy, an infected tooth is minuscule compared to what many of you are waiting on God for. In all honesty, it is minuscule in comparison to some of the other obstacles that my own family is waiting on God for. I mention it here because amid my ridiculous pain over the past week and the culmination of the great disappointment today I had a moment where I really began to question…why hadn’t God done something? Why hadn’t He answered the many prayers that had been prayed for this infection? Why hadn’t He laid it on my heart to double check the address of my appointment? Why hadn’t He made it so this could have been handled last year when it first broke? Why…?
Answer: Because He loves me.
No matter how hard that truth is to swallow (or in my case to chew) it doesn’t make it any less true. He loves me and He knows what is best even if I can’t see it from where I’m standing.
I probably won’t know on this side of eternity why I had to wait, but I do know this: God isn’t cruel and He is never late. There is a purpose and I choose today to put my faith in that. I don’t have to have all the answers; I need to put my trust in the One who does.
So whatever you are learning patience through remember this, beloved…God loves you and His timing is always perfect, even if it hurts. Choose today to stand firm in the knowledge that He is good, He is for you, and that at the end (either here or in glory) we will see things clearly and know that He waited because He loves us and that, my friends, is enough.
Written by Amanda Strauser