It’s been a weird few weeks. I’ve had people I love, actively pray for and believe in experience some powerful success that came about without their planning for it to happen, though they had laid a lifetime of ground work to prepare them for such an opportunity. They just didn’t know quite where they would land until a great opportunity landed on them. I am genuinely happy for them.
Yet I’d be lying if I didn’t say there is a part of me that’s jealous, too. It’s not that I don’t want them to experience those successes or have those things. I have, after all, prayed for those very things! It’s more this sense that I’m being left behind somehow, like the dreams God has laid on my heart may actually be pipe dreams, like I’m somehow wasting away my time and my life. Ever felt that way? Like everyone is passing you by and you are struggling just to keep moving forward? As I prayed about it, God gave me a passage to read in John chapter 11.
You’ve probably heard the story of Lazarus, the guy Jesus raised from the dead. I wondered why, of all passages, I was feeling nudged to read this one in particular, but obediently I opened up my Bible. I was about halfway through the story when it struck me: no one there knew or even understood that Jesus was about to raise Lazarus from the dead. Slowly, I began to see another story emerge.
Mary, Lazarus’ sister, had hoped Jesus would heal her brother. She didn’t actually accuse Jesus of being neglectful by not getting there sooner to heal him (something she knew He could do), but she still made her viewpoint known that Jesus could have produced a different outcome. Perhaps in her mind Jesus had come to the rescue for others, but hadn’t been able to do the same for herfamily, her brother. This is the same Mary, by the way, who had washed Jesus’ feet with her hair and tears and anointed His feet with expensive perfume. Clearly, she loved Jesus deeply. But I can’t help but think a part of her wrestled with feeling like He had failed her and left her in the dust.
The connection is obvious. Jesus’ timing is not my timing. He doesn’t answer in the ways we think He should or even when we think He should. Yet He does answer, and often in remarkable ways. I am sure neither Mary nor her sister, Martha, had any idea that Jesus planned to raise their brother from the dead that day. They were beside themselves with grief, assuming the end had come. They couldn’t yet conceive of exactly what the Christ could do. But Jesus performed a huge miracle, one that changed the trajectory of His ministry (and ultimately triggered the beginning of the end for His life) in order to perform this extraordinary act for people He loved in a most unexpected way. I’m watching Him do this for my friends. Yet I know He’s reminding me He will do something in my life, too—and in yours!
If, like me, you find yourself comparing your life to others and you feel like you keep pulling the short end of the stick, remember God has something special waiting for you. It may look differently than you’re expecting, and the timing of it may land later than you’d like, but it’s coming your way regardless. If comparison is the thief of joy, doubt is an out and out killer–of dreams, of belief, of action, of forward movement. Today, choose faith and choose life.
For Further Thought: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you,” (Jeremiah 29:11). “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” (Isaiah 55:8). What are you having a hard time surrendering in your life? Spend time in prayer this week reminding yourself of all the ways God has been faithful to you. Write them down if you have time so when you doubt, you can look them over and be reminded of God’s great care of you.