I’ve had multiple dreams for my life. And many times, I’ve questioned those dreams. When things haven’t gone as planned or according to my timetable, I’ve cried, I’ve gotten angry and I’ve questioned everything I know about God. I’ve spent many days and nights praying and asking God to come through. But instead of coming through, it was as if my hopes and dreams were dying a slow death. And through the process of dying, I’ve been crushed by those dreams.
- When my work in the church didn’t go like I had dreamed it would go
- When my longing for three boys didn’t happen
- When our finances didn’t allow us to send our son to a Christian private school
- When I didn’t get that job that I thought would be the answer to our financial struggles
- When I’ve been hurt and wounded by those I thought I could trust
As I think through each of these experiences, I’m reminded of the story of Lazarus in John 11. I’m particularly intrigued by verse 15:
“You’re about to be given new grounds for believing.”
Reading through John 11, The Death Of Lazarus, I couldn’t help but to see some similarities in my own life, and probably yours too.
Mary and Martha, who were very close to Jesus and whom Jesus considered His friends, found themselves in a tragic situation; their brother Lazarus was dying. So, they asked Jesus to come because they knew He could do something about it. But when Jesus “heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed on where he was for two more days.”
First off, if Jesus was a very close friend of theirs, why wasn’t He coming right away? If my close friend told me that they needed me, I would be there in a heartbeat. But yet, Jesus wasn’t coming. They must have been heartbroken. If we’re honest with ourselves, doesn’t it feel like that in our lives too sometimes? We ask, we pray, but we don’t get the answer from Jesus quick enough, or on our timetable and we begin to wonder why? We begin to worry. We begin obsessing about it. And sooner rather than later, we find ourselves with a broken heart.
We see that in verse 4 Jesus says, “This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s son.” Wait, what? What does He mean? What is he trying to say? Lazarus isn’t going to die? But then in verse 17 it says, “When Jesus finally got there, he found Lazarus already four days dead.” And we soon read that Mary and Martha tell Jesus that if He had come sooner, their brother would still be alive.
As much as I hate to admit it, isn’t that the way God works? No matter how our lives look or what it is that we pray for, ultimately, God will do what He wants to do on His timetable, not ours. And as much as we try to fight it, we have to come to a point where we truly trust Him, no matter how long it may take. We have to trust God even if it feels as though our dreams are dying a slow death.
But then in verse 15, we find hope: “You’re about to be given new grounds for believing.” And it’s this one verse that changes everything.
You see, I think sometimes God waits to answer our prayers and fulfill the dreams that we have, in order to bring the most glory to Him. Sometimes we have to wait so that we can be given new grounds to believe. And even though we want our dreams to happen right now or our circumstances to change right now, on our timetable, God has a different timetable, different plans. When our dreams and circumstances seem fatal, they are not. When God feels the time is right, it will be an occasion to show His glory, His faithfulness. And when we wait for God to come through, it gives us new grounds for believing, new faith, new hope and a new, revived belief in Jesus. And ultimately, this is what it’s all about, giving Glory to God. And it’s not just for us. Not only are we given new grounds for believing, but so are the people who are surrounding us and watching what God is doing in our lives.
- Even if your health is declining, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
- Even if your bank account is low, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
- Even if others turn their back on you, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
- Even if you never get a better paying job, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
- Even if your business flops, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
- Even if your relationship is strained, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
- Even if your addiction is getting harder to overcome, you’re about to be given new grounds for believing.
In every one of my personal circumstances, I had a choice. I could allow the disappointments of what didn’t happen on my timetable, consume me to the point of stress, worry and anxiety, or I could ultimately choose to trust God, even when I didn’t understand what He was doing, or not doing.
Jesus didn’t come to make our lives easier or more comfortable. Jesus isn’t in the business of making us an overnight success. He came so that we might have life. And life isn’t found in a better job, more money, more clients, perfect health, a bigger house, etc. Life is found in Jesus alone. Jesus wants to give us new grounds for believing! He wants to transform us and refine us. Who we are is more important than what we do and what we accomplish.
“What I have in God is greater than what I don’t have in life.” ~Max Lucado
Maybe today you feel discouraged. Maybe you feel a little “dead” in life. The dreams, hopes and prayers that you have held onto, seem so far away. Instead of receiving clear answers, you hear nothing, you see nothing. And if you’re honest with yourself, you’re a bit discouraged. Everything in you just feels dead.
Be encouraged! What you are going through is not fatal; it will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s son. And you my friend are going to be given new grounds for believing. God is still actively working in your life!
Today, do you find yourself discouraged? If so, let me know below. I would love to pray for you and speak words of life into your heart and soul.