When God Seems Late (The King Has One More Move)

(1-9-16 – Finally making this blog from last Spring/Summer public. Ironically, I’d been wondering if I was too late to share it. 🙂 But God’s been confirming it again in the past few weeks as I’ve been praying about it. So, hope it’s right on time.)
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As mentioned at the end of the previous note (Passing the “Though He Slay Me” Test), God’s answers were causing a gut-wrenching theological train wreck. Fourteen years of theological persuasion was being derailed. Though we were well aware that we haven’t always received instant manifestations of healing and miracles, and have often had to endure the process of faith AND patience to inherit the promises, the idea was always present that the instant was possible/available….but that somehow we were failing to RECEIVE. So on one hand, it was a relief to discover that the lack of instant manifestation is not always due to failure on our part to believe and receive what Jesus already provided. Yet on the other hand, the idea that God would ever purposefully leave His child in a distressing situation and make them endure the process of receiving by faith and patience was a troubling thought (yet a lesson He reminded us He’d already been teaching). So our wrestling continued.

As Jesse and I discussed what we felt the Lord was saying, he challenged, “Show me one example in Scripture where Jesus ever made anyone wait to receive their healing/deliverance.” We’d come to believe from other NT passages that sometimes repentance is required before a healing/deliverance manifests (and in any storm we should seek God to know what’s at the root and if we’ve opened any doors to the enemy that we need to close through repentance). But this was still a compelling argument that we were both well versed in. However, that day I heard myself respond, “What about Lazarus? … Jesus didn’t immediately rush to his rescue; He waited where He was for a time after learning of his plight before He intervened.”

The very next day, during Jesse’s time of seeking, the Lord gave him the account of Lazarus from Scripture. We believed He was confirming what He’d put on my heart the day before ~ that He’s set a precedent that at times…..He waits. After Jesse showed it to me, I inquired, “Did you notice it actually says He waited BECAUSE HE LOVED THEM?”

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. [They were His dear friends, and He held them in loving esteem.] THEREFORE [even] when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He still stayed two days longer in the same place where He was. John 11:6 AMP

Wha?!? We would expect it to say, “Now Jesus loved his dear friends. Therefore, when He heard of their distress, He rushed to their aid without hesitation.” Though the implications were painful, I suggested to Jesse that, while it may twist the charismatic brain into a pretzel, this account seems to show that He waited to deliver and heal because He loved them and had an even greater plan in mind ~ one that would cause them to know Him in a greater dimension than ever before and would bring Him even more glory. This account actually says that their crisis would serve the purpose of honoring and glorifying God the Father and Jesus. Obviously, the crisis did not glorify God, but the demonstration of His power to turn it around did. God later surrounded us with the same message from John 9:1-3, a passage that had long perplexed me due to its implications.

The following day, as I scrolled through an email from my friend Mark, I stopped in amazement when I saw the title of an article he’d included, called ~ “He Waited Because He Loved.” The Lord was overwhelming us with confirmation of this message. We were amazed by the irony that the very thing the enemy had called into question and challenged when God’s answer was “patience,” “wait,” was the very thing God was now saying was His reason for telling us to wait. Love.

God is never lateWhether we believe it, like it, or not, God often has a greater goal in mind than us avoiding all adversity and getting all He’s promised immediately. Most of us understand that when it comes to other areas ~ like inheriting our destiny. We realize there’s a process of waiting (and testing) surrounding receiving the fulfillment of those promises. But for certain things, some of us have been taught that God’s love is always best demonstrated by instant deliverance. The Lord asked us to realize that this kind of request can, at times, be “small picture” thinking, and that if He tells us to wait, we should ask to see through His eyes, from His perspective ~ to see the “BIG PICTURE” of the greater good He wants to achieve. He asked us to understand that at times His love is best demonstrated by waiting to deliver us or bring our breakthrough, but that He’s perfect in all of His ways and His timing will also be perfect. At times He wants to walk THROUGH something with us because there are certain things we’ll only learn by our experience of Him and with Him in that process, and certain things He can only accomplish in us and through us by going THROUGH.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you. Isaiah 43:2 AMP

Among all the words He gave about changing our perspective to see as He sees, was the continued admonition He’d been giving since just before this storm began, to see our obstacles and challenges as opportunities for growth and development (again, not by embracing an attack from the pit of hell, but through fighting the good fight of faith to overcome it).

James 1:2-4 ~
NIV – Consider it pure joy (Count it all joy), my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
MSG – Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

When you’re in the midst of “a storm of hurricane proportion from which there is no natural way of escape” (as He’s described it), and God tells you to count it all joy, consider it a gift, and be of good cheer, it’s painfully clear that His ways and thoughts are truly not ours.

“The Word tells you God is faithful and He will provide a way for you, but He doesn’t always show us the way immediately. That is when you must wait . . . and trust. Waiting on God purifies your faith and builds character. You don’t like waiting, but God’s way is perfect! So be assured God has not forgotten you. Trust Him, and in His time He will reveal His perfect plan for you.” ~ Joyce Meyer

Doesn’t this leave room for temptations to be offended with God, like John the Baptist faced, and even ammunition for the enemy to attempt to provoke us to “curse God and die” (as shared in the previous post)? Undoubtedly. Our love for God and trust in Him may be severely tested in these times. Especially when the waiting goes on and on till all hope seems lost. People often say God is never late; He’s usually not early, but He’ll be right on time. But for Mary and Martha, He surely must have seemed late. We might even detect a hint of offense in their words when He showed up too late to heal their brother. Lord, You could have prevented this. Where were You? Their situation was not only dead, but buried. It appears they’d completely given up hope that Jesus would turn it around.

Jesus told His disciples this sickness would not end in death (v4), yet there lay Lazarus, dead in a tomb. But if Jesus said something would not END in death, if we see death, it’s not the END. He just failed to mention that Lazarus would pass through death on the way to that expected END. And sometimes He tells us the expected END of our situations, yet fails to mention all we’ll pass through on the way to get there that seems to completely contradict and deny what He promised. Our situations that we’re standing on His promises for can end up dead, sometimes even buried. But even if Jesus is too late for a healing (our plan), He can still be right on time for a resurrection (His plan).

One night when I was up battling this storm, desperately needing to hear from the Lord, I picked up a book we’d been reading. When I opened, I saw a story that’s often been told about a chess champion touring the Louvre. According to the story, he came to the painting “Checkmate” which depicts Faust’s chess game with the devil (based on literature). The painting is intended to portray Faust’s utter defeat, having realized it’s game over. The enemy had made a move from which there was no escape or recovery.checkmate-painting

check·mate

~To move a piece placing (an opponent’s king) under threat of being taken on the next move with no way of escape or defense possible;
~ To arrest, thwart, or counter completely;

~ To defeat completely; utter defeat.

Yet, after examining the painting at great length, the chess champion concluded that the name needed to be changed. Regardless of how things appeared, THE KING HAD ONE MORE MOVE. 

Regardless of whether it’s a true story, the Lord wanted to make sure we knew it is a true lesson. A week or so later, we were overwhelmed when we heard the guest speaker at The Potter’s House say:

No matter what corner the enemy has backed you into, how imminent defeat appears, or how impossible victory may seem ~ remember he can never checkmate our God. THE KING HAS ONE MORE MOVE. No situation is too far gone for our God who can breathe life into dust, create beauty from ashes, and reassemble armies from piles of dry bones.
His resurrection power lives in us to turn our dead situations around for our good and His glory ~ exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask, hope, or imagine.

Never forget ~ THE KING HAS ONE MORE MOVE.

[Abraham was appointed our father] in the sight of God in Whom he believed, Who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed. [For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he {would receive what} he had been promised, …. He did not weaken in faith when he considered the {utter impossibilities in his natural circumstances}. No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised. Romans 4:17-21

Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God? John 11:40

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