“Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days.” John 11:5
This verse is the most interesting part of the story. Jesus heard His friend Lazarus was sick, and so He stays two more days. He delayed two days until Lazarus was dead. Have you ever gone through, what I call, difficult delays in a relationship? Every relationship goes through it. Those times when you feel like you’re not making any progress, you’re just hitting a brick wall. It’s during those times where you choose to persevere. Every relationship must go through those times, and the reason why so many marriages fall apart today, especially all these Hollywood marriages, is because when they move from the delight stage to dysfunction, they think I must have married the wrong person. I’m going to go find someone who doesn’t have dysfunctions like this. I’m going to go find someone who is more perfect for me. Then they go to the next person, and in the delight stage, they say, I finally found that person. Then dysfunction starts showing up, that delight stage wears off, and they see that dysfunction is there, and they say, well, I messed up there too, and I’ve got to go to this next one.
But when you realize we’re all dysfunctional, you start working through it, and you persevere, that’s what brings about a deep and rich relationship. Perseverance is the key. Let me give you a good definition of perseverance; Perseverance is being willing to be unhappy for a while. In every relationship you are going to be unhappy at times, but you persevere.
It says in verse 14, “So then He told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’” So, Jesus delays two days, and they go through a difficult delay in the family where Lazarus dies, and now Jesus says, okay, we waited two days, and Lazarus is dead, and it’s time for us to go. I’ve always had a plan, guys, and my plan is to build your faith. It’s one thing to heal a sick man; it’s another thing to raise a dead man. That was His plan all along. His plan was to glorify God and build their faith, and He said, I’ve always had a plan, so let’s implement the plan. When you go through difficult delays, and times get hard in a relationship, it’s all part of the plan. It’s the only way you can grow strong. You have to go through hard times. Then when you persevere, you come out on the other end with a beautiful relationship. There is always a purpose in the pain. Jesus is saying here, I have a plan.
Some of you, your heart is breaking today. Your heart has been ripped out in a relationship. Nothing causes more joy in our lives than relationships, and nothing causes more pain in our lives than relationships. Some of you are bleeding and wounded in a relationship. Just know this. You have a God who cares. There is a purpose in the pain. You don’t see it right now. No one can convince you of it right now, and that’s okay but there is a purpose in the pain. Jesus said there’s a purpose in this, and it’s to glorify Me and to build your faith.