I taught on John 11 this past Sunday.
You should read it.
Seriously. Go ahead. I'll wait.
Mary and Martha send word to Jesus that their brother, who he loves, is sick. They have seen him work his magic, healing the sick, giving sight to the blind. He did that to total strangers, so what more could he do for his close friends in a time of need? They expect him to come when they send for him.
The disciples who are with Jesus hear about Lazarus and expect that they will travel to his side.
Jesus decided to stay where they were for two more days.
Then Jesus announces Lazarus is sleeping (which is a good thing for a sick person to do...rest). The disciples expect Jesus not to disturb him. Jesus says "Let's go wake him up" (they didn't understand he was dead.)
The Jews in the passage even had expectations..."Couldn't this guy who is so powerful do anything to help his friend?"
And so Lazarus sat dead in a tomb for four days.
Mary and Martha are upset. "If you would have been here..."
"Jesus...we expected you to show up"
This is where a lot of people land in times of hardship...whether they are Christians or not.
God where were you?
In the cancer diagnosis? In the marriage on the rocks? With the girl who was raped?
We expected you to show up
when two planes flew into buildings in New York, when Tsunamis struck, with Rita, Katrina, OKC.
If only you would have been here
For Sandy Hook or the Boston Marathon or my dad's heart attack, or my mom's stroke, or Chaia's diagnosis.
We have certain expectations of God.
And maybe that's precisely the problem.
The God of resurrection and life is not confined to our demands and expectations.
He doesn't owe us anything (Yet He gives us everything).
The way to deeper waters is surrendering expectation in favor of expectancy.
Expectation says "My will"
Expectancy says "Thy will"
Expectation says, "You owe me"
Expectancy says "I'm yours."
Expectation demands that God behave.
Expectancy invites God's glory.
Expectation..."God,this is what you should be up to."
Expectancy..."God, what are you up to?"
We want the mountain top...We expect the healing. We expect the victory. We expect the blessing. If Jesus would have went immediately to Lazarus and healed his sickness, the sisters, the disciples and even the onlookers in the story would have gotten what they wanted...what they expected.
But Jesus crushed their expectations and redeemed them with expectancy..."What is this dude up to calling for a dead man to come out of the tomb?"
I want the mountaintop with Chaia. I want instant healing that gets us out of the hell that is hospital life, insurance companies and prescription plans. I want her to be made well, because she has so much life and joy to offer to this world.
But friends, the fruit grows in the valleys...not on the mountains.
If you want superficial faith that doesn't build endurance or character or hope...then expect the genie in a bottle God to do it how you'd do it. (and let me know how that goes)
If you want to be a disciple...embrace the suffering...look for his glory...and hang on.
Faith is not a gimmick. It's an expectant soul yielded to Resurrection and Life.