I love serving the people of Nicaragua. It is an amazing country with a beautiful culture. An aspect of Nicaraguan culture I struggle with is the lack of importance given to timeliness. When someone says they will do something tomorrow it often means next week. Someone saying they are “on their way” seldom means they are physically en-route. It could be another hour before they actually leave. There is nothing inherently wrong with this cultural habit, but it drives this type-A American nuts! When I want my car done at 10 am tomorrow I want it done at 10 am tomorrow, not a minute later. I don’t have much patience for tardiness.
There is a scripture where there was some frustration over Jesus’ tardiness. One of Jesus’ closest friends, Lazarus, was dying. His family was sure Jesus could heal him, as they had seen Jesus heal many others. They sent word to Jesus to come immediately before Lazarus perished. A prompt response was the difference between life and death. Yet, this was Jesus’ response:’
When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” John 11:4-7
Jesus receives this life or death news and waits TWO DAYS to do anything! I don’t know about you, but if Lazarus was my family member, I would have been a tad frustrated with Jesus. By the time Jesus arrives he is too late: Lazarus has died. In fact, he has now been dead for three days. Jesus, it seems, has arrived far too late. But here is the thing: Jesus is never late. Jesus is always right on time.
“Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:39-44
Here is a powerful lesson for us: God is never late. God is always right on time. We may feel God has failed to help us, when in reality God simply has other plans. Remember, regardless of our plans, God has eternal plans for all of us. It can be difficult to wait on God’s plans, but such patience is always worth it. God always delivers what we really need when we really need it: we need to trust His plans.