The two most alarming instances for me in the Bible were when Jesus never turned up to see His cousin – John the Baptist who was imprisoned, and when He delayed in coming to Lazarus’ home while he was sick. Whenever I read these two cases, I avoid pondering on them; as it hurts deeply to imagine the person who had the ultimate answer to all problems; those deathly problems, didn’t turn up! At least, to Lazarus’ story there is a happy ending. But, John the Baptist was beheaded for no fault of His. Phew!
Rejection is a major unseen but deeply felt hurt that we all face daily. Either, it could be from friends or siblings or that very person we know will not let us down.
In the recent times, the Holy Spirit is prompting in my heart about a lifestyle that I am determined to follow and watch; which wouldn’t be His actual orchestration and will.
Jesus told His disciples and the crowd: “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; …” (Luke 7:28). The One through whom the whole world was created remarks John with such profound words. John never heard Jesus say this and it may never have reached him. Sometimes in life, we may think no one knows our worth. That’s not true. God, has someone who will call forth your value to another person in your absence. You may never have the chance to hear it; because those moments are for God to celebrate you to others without you being in the picture physically. Why does He do that? His Sovereign glorious plan.
In spite of all these good words, Jesus having the very power to save John from being beheaded didn’t show up. He saved the prostitute from being stoned to death, He healed the blind, the lepers and the paralyzed. He fed 5000 men and their families with just five loaves of bread and two fishes. But, this one righteous man, who is His cousin; born to prepare the way for Him (the Saviour), baptized Him and spoke highly of Him, was left to an excruciating and torturing death. John may have breathed His last thinking, if you are really the Saviour, why are you overlooking me? I lived all my life to glorify God’s plan, and you didn’t show up in my helplessness.
Don’t we too have questions like this about our friends, folks, lover? We do! At times, we hear people say a lot of good about us, but in our most needed time, they wouldn’t be there. We wonder if those words were flattery or genuine. I too, at times think about the very people I have bequeathed my time on, and haven’t for once taken the initiative to spend their time back with me or my family. What do you do? Judge them? Hate them? Make resolutions to be careful next time? Lock yourself up? Nothing works. None of these, including confrontation. Well, I am not saying that you lose hope and be a slave. But, no matter what, if it was God’s will to let Jesus not show up to at least see his cousin, delay to heal Lazarus’ sickness and take up the cross; then my friend there are orchestrations daily, that are painful.
This is not because God is mean or not loving. Our comfort in this world gets shaken and tossed when people close, reject us. That is when, we tend to look up and glance at His wonderful face. If everything goes out as expected then our stay here on this earth will be so comfy and friendly, that we would never dare to step out to realize The Good purposes of a Good Father. We will keep looking at the tree that God has forbidden us not to eat from. The focus shifts and the fall gets real deep.
John the Baptist lived a very hard and strict life. God did not allow him to go through what he went through because of his sinfulness. Many trials we face aren’t necessarily because we sinned.
Those are myths!
We may confess and proclaim God’s word with solid faith and yet the beheading moments and circumstances of life come by. So, if the prosperity gospel teaches that life is godly only when your materials flourish, people exalt you, everything is very orderly and principled! That’s absolute stupidity. Yes, the Kingdom of God is a Kingdom of power, authority, order and greatness. But, it’s total fulfilment is seen when He comes and makes us One in Spirit and Body with Him.
People pray for long for a husband, for a wife, for a baby, for a breakthrough, for debts to be cancelled, for the restitution of a wayward child, for a friend, for a job to be stable and what not. Just because it doesn’t come through doesn’t mean God is not Good; and not good to them.
Lazarus’ story displayed resurrection due to a delay. Jesus’ obedience to the cross was sharpened because He saw His cousin beheaded for no fault of his, but as the reward for a cheap dance show. We are all vessels of honourable use and the honourableness is determined by God, not man. Many people died for the cause of the Gospel, and we can never say that it was because of their sins or lack of prayer or lack of wisdom. We walk through the hard pathways, because God knows, God sees, God is in it, moreover God is good and He loves us.
My friend, to the very “waiting” and the “struggles” you have endured for a long period maybe starting to get a little too overwhelming. Especially, when someone else have been blessed with that specific blessing you have been praying for diligently. Like Martha, you might say, “Lord, if you had done something then, I wouldn’t be facing this loss now” (John 11: 22). Like John the Baptist, you might ask, “Jesus, are you really God? Do I really have to go through this” (Luke 7: 19). Why is her response so naive and non-encouraging? Why haven’t they called yet? Why isn’t anything clicking through? To all of these questions, Jesus has one thing to say to you:
This sickness/ struggles/ waiting/ pain/ hurt/ lack will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it (John 11: 4).
Part 2 coming up soon….