When Jesus Disappoints You

Things were getting worse. The Teacher hadn’t come and the sickness was progressing. Had the message not reached Him? Lazarus lay dying. And they waited for Jesus to come.

Jesus loved Martha and Mary. He loved Lazarus. So when they sent word to Him that Lazarus was sick . . . Jesus waited.

[box]Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. (John 11:2–6)[/box]

When the message reached Jesus, He waited. He stayed two days longer. He didn’t rush. He didn’t run. He didn’t even heal from a distance like He did with the Centurion’s servant.

Jesus waited.

The word “disappointed” is never penned in this text, but it is written all over the story. 

I’m sure Mary and Martha were disappointed. They knew Jesus could’ve healed their brother. They knew it would be no problem for Him. They told him as much, as soon as He showed up (four days late according to them).

I can just see Martha’s arms crossed and her stern glare as she rebukes Jesus:

[box]“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”[/box]

She lays the blame for Lazarus’ death at His feet.

She poured out her heart with an urgent request and Jesus didn’t come through. He let her down. 

Can you relate?

I have unanswered prayers. I have urgent requests that haven’t been attended to. I have loved ones who are dying without hope of eternal life.

Where is Jesus?

Why is He delaying?

Doesn’t He care?

Isn’t He listening?

Where is He?

Waiting for the Greater

Jesus was right where He was supposed to be. He loved them, so He waited.

His heart was for their best, so He waited.

His vision was beyond the expected, so He waited.

His obedience was to the Father’s plan, so He waited.

Jesus was in no hurry to move because in the waiting there is always great purpose.

John provides the details, so there is no mistaking who “this Lazarus” is. He is Lazarus of Bethany, “the village of Mary and her sister Martha.” But to add to that emphasis, John includes the detail: “It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill.”

Note that detail. The Holy Spirit through John is signifying to us that He knows which Mary it is, we should pay attention to the fact that this is no “common Mary.” This is the Mary who prepared Jesus for His burial. The anointing would take place later, after this incident, but John wants the reader to realize that this was the Mary who was deeply devoted to the Savior, the same Mary who sat at His feet to soak up every word from His lips.

The sisters sent the message, not with the bare facts that “Lazarus is ill” but framed the message with touching urgency as they relayed: “he whom you love is ill.”

So Jesus waited.

Jesus waited because this was about more than sweet Mary. This was about more than faithful Martha. This was about even more than the beloved Lazarus.

Jesus waited for the glory of God.

Jesus waited so that the greater would occur. If Jesus had come when Martha called for Him, there would’ve been no stretching of their faith. There would’ve been no crowd of mourners to witness the Life-Giver in action. There would’ve been no resurrection to astound the Jewish community and stir up a death sentence.

If Jesus had responded when the sisters first called, the greater would’ve been sacrificed for what they thought was best.

But because He loved them, because He desires God’s glory, Jesus waited.

Dear one, what are you asking Him for today? Have you been crying out for a very long time without any sign of response from Him?

Don’t lose heart.

Don’t think He does not see, does not know, does not care.

Jesus knows and cares, He will not turn a blind eye to those who cry out to Him for mercy . . . but He may wait.

Because He loves you, Jesus may wait.

For God’s glory, Jesus may wait.

For God’s greater work, Jesus may wait.

While you wait, turn your heart in full devotion to Him knowing that all that He does is good:

[box]The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him. (Nahum 1:7)[/box]

How can we join you in prayer?


Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/


  • mary

    Amen.this is in season. Needed to read this devotion. I will be trusting and praising while I am waiting

  • Jill

    I have been feeling God’s calling to foster. It’s been on and off in my heart for several years. I have really listened lately and began to pursue it, but I’m still question myself if I’m hearing the right thing. I have asked God to give me an answer, and in this past week he’s made me wait. Now I’m getting impatient and wondering if that is truly what he wants for me. Please pray for patients, understanding, answers, and guidance through this process for me. Open my heart to hear God’s word and understand what my calling is. Kimberly, Thank you for your daily messages. I start my day off with them, and always get something I need from them. God bless you and your staff!

  • Cicely

    I am in a season of my life, that seems like the sunshine will never come. I’ve have falter, and I am at times discouraged, but there’s this glimpse of my Faith that I’m holding onto seeking Jesus intently in my home where my entire household had fallen into an “un-Christ like” life and are too struggling to find guidance and believing in the holy spirit. We don’t know what our God has plan for us, but I will wait in praise and thanksgiving for God and my savior. I pray for everyone who is in a season of waiting to hold onto to he who has deliver us. I pray that In this season where I want to scream, run and break that I received the grace to be still in this season and wait for my savior. Thank you for sharing. Your post and story has been such comfort in my spiritual journey and within my marriage. Thank you for all your wonderful post and encouragement in becoming a “soft warrior” , for me my journey has just started in this direction but I walk with thanksgiving and hope there will be healing and restoration. Thank you so much.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Mary ~

    Thanks for taking time to leave a comment. Glad to know that this was something that God used in your life right now. May you experience tangible evidences of His grace while you trust Him and wait on Him!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Jill ~

    Thank you for leaving such an encouraging comment, so glad to know that you start your day with the blog and grateful that God uses it to speak to you. Fostering children is an amazing ministry opportunity, but you are wise to be careful to know God’s perfect will and timing. You may have read this post, but I’m putting the link below to a post that you might find helpful as you seek God about that decision:

    I hope you have a network of support and biblical, truth-speaking friends that might be able to pray with you as you seek God about this important decision.

    Pausing to pray for you now, friend!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Cicely ~

    I’m so sorry to hear that this is a painful season, but I’m thankful to know that you are pressing into Christ, seeking Him and waiting on Him. He is aware, He sees, He knows, and He cares. May you experience His steadfast love as you wait on Him!

    “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

    Just as it is written,

    But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39)