Where Were You, Lord?
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (Heb. 11:1, NLT)
As I was driving to an appointment (and as usual hadn’t left myself enough extra time), I missed my turn. I thought the sign was telling me that the turn was for 12 Mile Road, but that I was still on M-5 North. Unfortunately, the sign was showing me that I needed to turn off of I-96 at that point to take M-5 northward. Instead of being at the medical facility in West Bloomfield, I ended up in Northville, basically in the opposite direction. Once I took the turn around and was eventually back on the right road, I was able to find office building. I was quite late and fully prepared to reschedule and head home, but they were gracious enough to still accommodate me.
Going home, I hit rush hour traffic and took quite awhile to return. I suppose the whole thing only took me an extra half hour, but the anxiety and stress made my little trip seem worse. I returned safely home and I know the Lord was with me the whole time. He told His disciples He would go with them to the ends of the earth! But He allowed me that little detour. Things didn’t go perfectly even though He was there. If anything, it was simply a consequence of my poor planning.
Every day, believers are going through much more difficult detours in life. Unexpected serious illness takes hold, marriages fail, jobs are lost, wayward children leave families behind and terrible accidents happen. These are the things that test our faith.
When Lazarus had died, his sister, Martha, said to Jesus when he arrived on the scene, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” How honest Martha was with Jesus! And if I’m honest there are many times that I am asking that question. For example, when my husband fell off the roof 15 years ago I wondered why He allowed that to happen. After each of my four miscarriages I wondered why He allowed each baby to die in the womb when each of them were so loved and wanted.
When I ask why, I’m really asking the Lord where He was when that happened, because if He’d been doing what I wanted, those bad things wouldn’t have happened. But get this, it’s what I wanted. I wasn’t asking what He wanted to do in my life through those things at first. That took a while longer.
A little later, when Jesus asked for the stone to be removed from Lazarus’ grave, Martha complained that since her brother had been buried four days before, it would smell pretty awful. Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” Jesus called Lazarus forth from the tomb and Martha had her happy ending regarding Lazarus, right then and there.
For us it isn’t always so immediate. We need to trust even when we don’t have the instant results we want and believe that the Lord is here working on the results He wants to see in our lives. As we come to know Him better and center on His presence more fully, we’ll begin to want what He wants in our lives, which is the best for us.
Father, please teach us to desire You and Your will most of all, to know You are working out your perfect plan, despite how it may look to us today. Please give us the gift of faith that we might trust You more fully. Amen.