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So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.”  John 11:15

      This is a difficult statement to read and digest.  Put yourself in the disciples’ shoes for a moment.  We can be sure they all had love and affection for Lazarus and his extended family.  We are told Jesus did.  Now we discover Jesus is “glad” He wasn’t there so that Lazarus could die!  Does this sound cruel to you? 

      Most of us have had someone special or very close to us pass away.  Times of loss are especially difficult.  Was the Lord there by your side in your time of need?  Maybe you have been sick, even to the point of death, or knew of someone else in this condition.  Was the Lord there by your side during your time of need?  Hasn’t the Lord met you in all your moments of great need? 

      My point is this – One of the ways we know we are truly growing in the Lord is when He delays or postpones His answer or arrival.  It is in this precise moment of delay that we are not bothered or confused by the Lord’s actions because we trust Him.  Faith at its finest can undergo delay or postponement and not be detered. 

      If you are not really maturing in the Lord, then His presence or lack of presence may not mean much to you.  If you are in the process of growth and His friendship and nearness is vital, then this type of testing from heaven is what you can expect.  Lazarus, his family, and even the twelve disciples, were all expecting the Lord to move one way.  They believed Jesus could only heal Lazarus before he died.  But the Lord chose to  “delay” because He loved them and wanted their faith to grow beyond it’s current limitations. 

      Does the Lord love you so much today that He would purposefully procrastinate in answering your prayers?  Or are you one of those followers who completely falls apart when heaven appears to be inactive or indifferent.  If the Lord’s movements appear to be unusual, it just maybe He is attempting to stretch your faith.  Purpose today to “get over yourself” and grow past your fears to discover a deeper belief in the Lord.