Wednesday, April 13, 2011

When God Shows Up Late by Martin Wiles

Lazarus coming out  by William Hole. Permission Bible Picture Gallery
John 11:21 “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (NLT)

I couldn't help but wonder why I was laying in the hospital. Other than loving fried food and junk food, I was a pretty healthy eater. But here I was with a bleeding ulcer. Having just graduated Bible College and accepting a call to a new position, I wondered what purpose God was engineering in this snafu? It was certainly an undesirable interruption.

It took quite a few months to recuperate, so I had plenty of time to reflect on possible answers. It’s easier to look up when I'm on my back. So I decided to give it a try.

I was young and in success mode. Accomplishing as much as possible in a given day was important even if it meant neglecting family and friends. Perhaps God was saying, Slow down. So I did. I traded the urgent for the necessary and life improved drastically.

Have you ever asked God Why? Martha did in John 11:17-22. Her family was good friends with Jesus. When their brother got sick, they naturally sent for the healer. He lingered long enough for Lazarus to die. Jesus’ action appears insensitive. Martha seemed to think so too.  She said, “Lord, if…”   It didn’t make sense for a good friend to behave this way. He should have been there.

The news is full of occasions when God seems to show up late or doesn’t make sense: a popular teen football player falls dead with a heart attack, a young girl is raped, a child is abused by her step father, a house is lost to foreclosure, a son walks away from the faith, or the car breaks down before payday. But God does not say we will always understand or that we should use our ingenuity to solve the dilemma. He simply reminds us; “We live by believing and not by seeing.” (II Corinthians 5:7) Faith gives courage to walk where we cannot see and guts to trust when God’s actions appear irrational.

 Father, when we can’t see by sight enable us to trust by faith. 

Dr. Martin W. Wiles is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Harleyville, SC, author of two devotional books and former correspondent for the Baptist Courier. He and his wife Michelle have a devotional ministry called Morning Lite.


  1. I've asked God why several times during my lifetime..I never got an answer, but I know, my Savior heard me, and I know He has plans for my life too...It's so true, we live by believing and not seeing...Faith gives us he courage we need to walk this path to Heaven...God bless you Marty and Michele....I love the Wiles family, had it not been for Buddy's good preaching, I'd be in Hell right now. Jesus was there when I needed Him, He's there all the ya brother, Mike Mckee

  2. Hello Martin
    My husband is also Martin Wiles... No relation and we live in Canada

    We have been following your daily messages for the past few months and really are blessed by your practical messages and the daily applications we can make of them in our life.
    We have had our fair share of "Why" moments in our nearly 55 years of marriage which have included the death of our eldest child at the age of 9 1/2 over 45 years ago, our first granddaughter was born at 30 weeks weighing just 2 pounds, my own problems with a rare neurological disorder called dystonia, this past 6 years, my Martin's battle with oesophageal cancer, that same granddaughter's near death experience 2 years ago when she suffered cardiac arrest at the age of 23 and her heart stopped for over 10 minutes and she ended up with an internal defibrillator implant in her chest .
    I could go on with many other events that have happened as recently as last week when Martin ended up in the emergency with cellulitus in his face, which again could have been fatal. We could ask Why to all of these things!
    However through it all, God has been very close to us and each time has given us strength and courage to carry on and with an army of prayer warriors to stand with us through our experiences we are able to uphold others when they go through their trials.
    Thank you for this message today
    Caro-Claire Wiles


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