John 11:21-22 (NIV)
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
John 11:32 (NIV)
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
John 11:37 (NIV)
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
John 11:43-44 (NIV)
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
On the way up North around Labor Day my son and another friend decided to stop for something to eat about 3/4 of the way up. There has been a Mexican restaurant that my wife and I have passed by for years. It looked very good but we never happened to stop by and try it. We decided to stop and give it a try. By the looks on the outside I was expecting real authentic food, and authentic looking servers. When we walked in the door and saw the host who could win a look alike contest with Mr. Rogers of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood I knew we were in trouble. I kept waiting for Mr. Mcfeely to come out of the kitchen. Well, the food or the service wasn’t close to my expectations, but it made for some humorous conversation later.
Expectations are things that we need to continually battle. Somehow we think that we know what is best. We see in our passage in John 11 the account of Lazarus being raised from the dead. It seems that everyone but Jesus thought that it would have been best if Lazarus had not died in the first place. Look at the verses above again or read the account in your Bible. Then look at the verses below.
John 11:4 (NIV)
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
John 11:14-15 (NIV)
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,
15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
John 11:40 (NIV)
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
If Lazarus had not died, Jesus would not have been glorified as He was. People would not have believed. There was a greater purpose in the death than others knew. They simply wanted to forgo the pain and suffering that comes with dying (who doesn’t?).
When it comes to praying we often times expect our prayers to be answered the way we are praying because we know what is best. We pray that God’s will be done, and we honestly believe that we are praying according to His will and are praying in faith, believing. Yet nothing seems to happen. We remember the Scriptures that teach “ask and it will be given you”, and “we have confidence before God and receive anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what he pleases”, among others. So what do we do? I am still learning. I recognize the importance of prayer. I often times see prayer more changing me than seeing my prayers answered. And I believe that many of my prayers are consistent with the known will of God, and do sometimes struggle with seemingly not being answered. It is like going into that Mexican Restaurant expecting to see the real thing, and being disappointed. Yet I pray that you and I do not become disappointed. May we see that there is a higher purpose that we often times do not see.
I must be reminded that I already have more than I deserve in Jesus. Also I need to continue to trust that my Lord knows what He is doing. He is God after all. He is Holy and Just among all His other attributes, and deserves to be glorified. I must leave the results in His capable Hands. Pray that I will rest in Him and not be disappointed. Pray that I will focus on Him and not my expectations. I will do the same for you.
Learning to trust Him,
How about you? Do your expectations get in the way? Are you trusting Him no matter what? Are you persevering in prayer like the woman in Luke 18?