God’s Strange Timing..

I am a person that likes to have everything in order, and definitely on time. Delays don’t work well for me. I’m sure that delays don’t work well for most people. So, when I was reading this week, I was struck by a delay, by none other than Jesus:

Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” (John 20:24-26 ESV)

Eight days…

Thomas had a major crisis of faith… I’m sure he wanted to believe, but he saw his friend die. The other disciples were excited, but they were also under some tremendous strain, having their lives turned upside down, all of their expectations dashed, and their friend horribly crucified and then, supposedly they saw him…

Eight days…

So Thomas says “no way… I need proof”…

Then… nothing… No proof… no show… no word… nothing

Not the next day… or the day after that… or the day after that… or even the day after that…

Think about this… not from Thomas’ perspective… think about it from any one of the other disciples’ perspectives…

I saw him die… then I see him show up. “He’s alive!” When will I see him again? “Thomas, I’m sure he will come back…”

Nothing…

More nothing…

“Jesus, did I really see you?”

More nothing…

This wasn’t the only time Jesus’ followers had to deal with a crisis of faith…

John is sitting in prison… He had announced that his cousin was the coming messiah, that this was the fulfillment of every prophecy… John had given his life for this proclamation, and was about to make the ultimate sacrifice for it…

What did John see? What didn’t he see?

He sent people to him… “Are you the one I have been talking about, or should we be looking for someone else?”

Delays… they suck…

Jesus said “Blessed are those who are not offended in Me”…

So, basically, as much as delays suck, as hard as they are on us, we can’t let them turn us bitter, or get offended because he does delay.

But… eight days…

Lazarus was dead, and he only took 4 days… what was he trying to prove with the disciples?

 You know the question… Mr. Owl… how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? The answer?

We don’t know why he took eight days. There may have been some deep theological reason… some heavenly ceremony, or contract signing or whatever… we don’t know… For all we know, it took eight days to travel to heaven and back (I know, sounds silly, but I’m pretty sure that we have come up with more ludicrous explanations for things)… Bottom line, he never told the disciples what he was doing, how long he would be gone, or when… or if, he was coming back… Thomas wanted proof, and he was powerless to get it, and even though he made his request known, getting his answer was not going to be that easy…

The good thing is, Jesus did come back. And he did answer Thomas’ request.

Then he said to Thomas,“Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

It is possible that for those eight days, Jesus was working on Thomas’ belief, trying to get him to believe without seeing… again, “the world may never know”. I’m sure the disciples were not just sitting cozy in their belief during those eight days. The thing that brings hope is that Jesus knew what it would take for Thomas to believe, and he also knew where else he wanted to take Thomas. He did what was necessary for Thomas to get back on track with his faith, while challenging him for more. This brings me hope as I wait for certain things to happen in my life, dealing with delays in promises, in callings, in simple things like securing employment. I can rest a little better knowing that Jesus knows exactly what I need in answer to my faith questions, but he also holds secure the thing he has called me to… the thing that I cannot see, that he calls me to believe in.

I still hate delays, but I am learning to trust the journey he has me on, even when he hasn’t shown up for a few days.

Funny Notables

so if you can’t identify with the pain of delays, maybe you can identify with some of these situations… hope you enjoy this video 🙂

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