The summer storm fills the night air with a the rare freshness of much needed moisture. Rain falls across the windshield as we pull into the short term lot near the arrivals area our missionary friends will walk into. We quickly scoot into the terminal and up to the arrivals board to check on the flight. Only now does it occur to me that this will be a late night. Most of the flights have been diverted or cancelled due to the storm. The worst kind of waiting is when you don’t know how long it will take. We alternate between walking the corridors and sitting among the other displaced travellers.
Our lives, it seems to me, are too often regulated by the ever present ticking clock, and so unwanted pauses are uncomfortable for me. I remember the carefree days of childhood where time flowed with a rhythm of play, eat, rest, work and imagine. That’s more what God’s movements are like. God is not going to allow us to fit him into our calendars and clocks.
“OBJECTS AND EXPERIENCES ACQUIRE VALUE THROUGH THE ACT OF WAITING. . . . IF INSTANT GRATIFICATION DEVALUES, IF IMPATIENCE IS A FORM OF GREED, PERHAPS PATIENCE, THEN, IS A GENEROSITY, AN INTENTIONAL GIVING OF ONE’S TIME, A GIVING OF ONESELF.” On Waiting, Harold Schweizer
“Master, if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” Martha blurts out. Her confusion and grief overwhelm her as she questions the Lord’s sense of timing. (John 11)
By the time Jesus had arrived, Lazarus had been dead for four days and the mourners were already gathered. By any cultural standard that is too late. Too late for a miracle and barely on time for a pastoral homily.
Time, chasing us like the crocodile in Peter Pan, threatens to run out on us before the opportunity of a lifetime comes along. We think, “I’m too old and too weak or out of ideas and money, empty of hope and full of despair. Lord it’s too late for me.” “How long, Oh Lord?” David prays in the Psalms. However, when we are completely out of options, it is never too late for God.
HEALING IS OUT OF THE QUESTION NOW FOR LAZURUS, BUT NOT RESURRECTION! “LAZARUS COME FORTH,” JESUS CRIES. AND THE DEAD MAN LIVES.
When the plane finally arrives, I lost half a night of sleep and moved my car a half a dozen times to save money. Our guests have endured worse, having flown through traumatic turbulence that left them looking ghost like. They, like Lazarus, have passed through death and still live, happy to be alive.