When God Doesn’t Follow Our Plan

Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

John 11:32

Mary and Martha had sent for Jesus. That was their prayer, their cry for help, “Come save our brother.” God purposefully doesn’t do as they are wanting. They want Him to come and touch their brother Lazarus and heal him from his sickness.

In the meantime, Lazarus dies. This was God’s plan, His plan for a greater salvation story. Mary and Martha had planned out what God should do. Jesus should come, now, and heal.

When Lazarus died, they could have thought, “God said no.” They could have said, “It wasn’t God’s will to heal.” They could have said, “It’s was Lazarus’ time to go.” They could have said any of those things we say when things don’t go as we want, when our prayers seem to go unanswered.

While they didn’t react with any faith when Jesus shows up, at least they didn’t kick Him out and shoo Him away. They don’t reject Him. They wouldn’t have gotten their miracle at all. They do, however, feel the need to point out His shortcoming in their eyes. Jesus cries at how they don’t even know Him or their good Father.

Having God with them should have brought rejoicing in their hearts. Having God with them should have produced hope and anticipation. Having God with them should have made them realize that not all was lost. Having God with them should have had them believing anything was possible.

But it didn’t. It was like they didn’t know Him at all.

How do you respond to God being with you? Have you ever felt rejected or discouraged, like God ignored your prayers? Have you ever wanted to accuse God, like the disciples did, “Don’t you care?” If you ever did as a believer, then you were like those standing there that day weeping over Lazarus when they should have been rejoicing about the miracle that was about to happen.

Are you living like God is with you? If Jesus walked in the room right now and stood with you, wouldn’t you rejoice that God had heard your prayers? Wouldn’t you know that all hope wasn’t lost, that God was going to act on your behalf and make things all better? Well, He’s there with you now. He’s closer than just in the room with you. He’s in you.

Rejoice! God has heard your prayers! He restores all things! He’s working for your good! Never grieve like one without hope. Hope is alive in you!