The Frustration of Our Timing Versus God’s Timing

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movingmountains-andfollowingcats asked a question:

Hey FS4C, what are some Bible stories (not just short verses) that talk about waiting patiently when it seems like God’s promises are taking forever? And, what are some stories to read for when you feel lonely? Thank you!! 🙂 (by the way, I love all of the answers you give when people ask questions.. sometimes I have the same questions and your answers are totally wonderful! Thank you for everything!)

Hey my friend, thank you so much for your kindness.  Here goes one of my favorite stories of waiting.  My other advice to you is to check out Acts 12, Genesis 37 and 39-50, and the story of David from 1st and 2nd Samuel.

Mark 5.  A synagogue leader (a local pastor) named Jairus approaches Jesus and his entourage.  Jairus has a sick daughter who’s nearly dead, and Jairus knows Jesus can blow it up.  They travel together through a crowd, but at this point Jesus is a rockstar and there are masses of people pushing and bumping and moshing to get to him.

One of them is a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years.  She’s tried doctor after doctor and probably herbal tea and a vegan diet and kale, but nothing has worked.  She grabs at Jesus in hopes that he will heal her.

Suddenly, Jesus stops.  He says, “Who touched me?”  Now in a crowd like this, it’s a ridiculous question.  Probably Jairus and the disciples were like, “Yo master, there’s an almost dead-girl, we gotta go.”  The bleeding lady is on the ground gripping Jesus’s robe and she’s been healed.  For the first time in twelve years, she doesn’t feel the life draining out of her.  She tells Jesus it was her, she had grabbed him.  He tells her, so tenderly, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”  By the way, I teared up again just reading this passage.

When Jesus and the J-posse get to Jairus’s crib, his daughter is already dead.  But Jesus says, “Nah son, she sleeping.”  All the professional mourners (real historical thing) start to laugh, like “Lol wut.”  Jesus is angry and he only takes in Jairus, his wife, and the disciples.  He tells this dead young girl, “Talitha koum,” which literally means, “Baby girl, wake up.”  And she does.  She wakes up.  They rejoice.  Someone sings Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.  I’m tearing up again.

Here’s the kicker.  Why did Jesus make Jairus wait?  The bleeding lady in the crowd had been bleeding for twelve years and she was still alive.  Jairus’s daughter was near death, and then dead.  But Jairus had to wait.

An important thing there is that Jairus was a synagogue leader.  He had clout, esteem, a rep, an image.  This bleeding lady couldn’t go to the market, get a job, or get married, because she was considered “legally unclean.”  So in a sense, Jesus went to the disadvantaged person first.  The privileged person had to wait.  Jesus was throwing human values upside-down.

Not only that, but the bleeding lady had the more urgent need.  She had a superstitious half-formed faith; she thought simply “touching a healer” would heal her, but she needed a true encounter with the savior.  So Jesus stopped to really meet her, not just as a miracle worker, but as the Son of God.  That’s remarkable.  Jesus knew what he was doing.

Now I’m not saying Jesus thinks that every waiting person is over-privileged or entitled.  I’m not saying that someone else’s needs are more important than your own.  But this account demonstrates that God knows exactly what He’s doing, within His timing, by His grace, and He doesn’t leave us without resources in our time of wait.  All of us in a way are the bleeding woman; we think God isn’t paying attention, but He’s orchestrating all this to prioritize our wants and our needs.

Think of what waiting really means.  It means the delay of what we really want. If God were to give me everything I wanted at this exact moment, it could ruin me.  Ten years ago, if I were to become a lead pastor and famous preacher like I really wanted, it would’ve turned me into an egotistical arrogant jerk.  God puts us through various seasons of training so that we might become the kind of person who can handle what He will eventually give us.  If you think of every person who prematurely gets what they want (think celebrities), it always ruins them.

Of course, there are some things we sincerely need right now.  I know it’s tough.  Waiting sucks.  I don’t think that suffering is always meant to teach a lesson; I don’t mean to over-spiritualize our pain.  Yet we can still choose who we want to be on the other side of this suffering.  This hurt is more reason to trust God and cling to His wisdom, and not less.  We can still crawl our way to him, badly bleeding and desperate and raggedy as we are.  Even if you feel dead: Jesus can work with that.  Trust Him in the waiting, because the pay-off in the end will always be a greater closeness with Him.

— J.S.

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