The spirit of fear motivates much of the church to look to the world for help. At times we see that we are losing people and think we are unable to resist the devil’s forces. Instead of coming to God in repentance, prayer and obedience, we look to the latest marketing techniques and seek to fill our services with hype. We are unable to endure the reproach of obedient silence and waiting. Consequently, we produce our own religion. This is also the spirit behind such theologies like “Kingdom Now” that teach: “We need to take over all the sectors of the world—politics, music, entertainment, business—before the Messiah will come back.” It is true God desires us to be lights in every sector of this present Babylon, but Babylon will not fall until the Messiah returns. We need to ask ourselves how much we are trying to take matters into our own hands.
Listen to Samuel’s rebuke to Saul:
“You have done a foolish thing…You have not kept the command the Lord gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” (1 Sam. 13:13-14)
The one who endures through the darkness of unknowing and the cloud of disorientation, will be established in the end––endued with God’s authority. Like Cyprus they will discover “the treasures of darkness and [the] hidden wealth of secret places” (Isa. 45:3, NASB).
The story of Lazarus also highlights the test of waiting. In John 11 we read that Lazarus (Mary and Martha’s brother) is sick (John 11:3). Jesus had an affectionate and close relationship with Lazarus, yet when he heard what was happening he “stayed where he was two more days” (John 11:6). By the time Jesus arrived in Judea, Lazarus had been dead for four days and the smell of his decaying body stunk. Both his sisters said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21, 32). They knew Jesus’ presence could have turned things around, but he didn’t come on time.
Why did Jesus hide himself in such a time of great need? He was teaching them his way. Lazarus, Mary and Martha needed to go through a time of being “formless and empty” before the “light of God’s glory in the face of Christ” could be revealed (2 Cor. 4:6). They were brought to such a low point that they wept, seeing no hope in sight. But the darkness they endured was a blessing. They were experiencing “the fellowship of his sufferings” even though they may not have realized all that was taking place. In the end God’s glory was revealed through Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Ironically, it was this very miracle that gave birth to the conspiracy to kill Jesus (John 11:46ff.).
Prayer: Father, deliver me from the spirit of fear and let me be patient in obedience. Resurrection is coming, light is sown on the righteous. You will come, heal and deliver. Today, I wait for you with expectancy.