After having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer.
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.”
—John 11.6, 21
Why did Jesus delay? So he could raise him? No,
he wouldn’t let someone suffer unnecessarily just to prove something.
In this time of imposed self-isolating it strikes us Martha’s right:
if he’d been there it would have made a difference.
But he delayed. Sit with Jesus a minute in the waiting.
Let this time pass over your anxiety. Don’t leave.
Lazarus is dying. Don’t move. Wait.
What comes to you?
Consider. Maybe Lazarus would have died anyway,
and Jesus knew. You are not in control.
You can’t save even your dearest. Life will happen to them.
You can’t escape life and its suffering. Even faith offers no detour.
Unpreventable tragedy will strike. Illness unto death.
Believing “It shouldn’t happen to me” is a burden.
Maybe Jesus took two days to accept what he could not control,
and to find God there in the powerlessness,
in making peace with what is.
Letting go of what he wanted, good as it was.
We are not in control. But God is here.
Sometimes it takes time to find God by not escaping what is.
I write these words waiting to hear who of my beloved is ill,
knowing my part will be to wait at a distance.
Want what you want, even life itself. Do what you can.
And let go. Make peace with what is, and find God there:
the God who sits with you in your powerlessness,
the God who waits… the God who is already there.
March 23, 2020