Sometimes, it can feel like your prayers are hitting the ceiling. But just because you don’t feel God doesn’t mean He isn’t working.

I wanted to speak about that because
everybody in the room has a Lazarus it

is that located part of your life where
you thought God would it could be a help

that you expected emotionally it could
be a help that you expected relationally

it could be what did his name mean one
whom God helps and what did the sisters

say when they sent for him the one that
You love it is a direct contradiction of

their expectation and an apparent
contradiction of Christ’s character that

because He loved them and He didn’t just
love Martha and He didn’t just love Mary

He loved Lazarus and I don’t know if
you’ve read the whole story before but

after He says Lazarus won’t die Lazarus
dies the Lazarus factor it is that

sometimes the exact opposite of what you
thought God would do based on who you

knew him to be happens in your life and
everybody has a Lazarus everybody wanted

to play college baseball and tore their
meniscus I don’t even know what a

meniscus is but I hear people say they
tore it

everybody has an ideal of what they
thought a relationship would be until

you discovered there were some things
about them that did not show up on the

third date or the fourth date or the
fifth day or the sixth date or the

seventh day you didn’t see those crazy
eyes did you until y’all shared a

blender oh when you start sharing stuff
in a house you find out now I’m using

trivial things here because if we think
about it in too epic of a fashion you

won’t allow yourself to locate your
Lazarus if we don’t speak in a specific

fashion about those little things that
disappoint us

those little Lazarus those those little
things that we bury those little hopes

that were crushed those little dreams
that were stripped of their meaning and

potential those those little moments
that were stolen by what people did or

said but those little doors that were
closed right when you were trying to

walk through them if we don’t break it
down specifically you will keep it out

of here at a distance because that’s
what we always do to God when we are

disappointed we put Him at a distance
and we allow Him to come no closer and

I’m going to show you in the text that
that’s exactly what the sisters did when

they lost their Lazarus what do you do
when you lose your Lazarus what do you

do when God leaves you unread what do
you do when He listens to you pray but

decides apparently to stay two days away
until the messengers come and say it’s

too late Lazarus the one you love has
been laid to rest the Lazarus factor and

now Jesus has some explaining to do
because He said he wouldn’t die and then

He waited two days and then he died I’m
smiling not because the story is happy

but just because I know the outcome you
hear me I’m smiling because I’ve only

read up until verse six right here in
front of you but I read to verse 44 all

week as a matter of fact I’m smiling
about something that I read in verse two

I want to show this real quick it says
in verse two this Mary

whose brother Lazarus now lay sick was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped

His feet with her hair can I tell you
something that doesn’t happen until chapter 12

it’s a flash-forward y’all been watching
this is us

it’s a flash-forward it’s to let us know
that even though Lazarus dies his story

does not because this same Mary who is
disappointed in chapter 11 is going to

be worshiping in Chapter 12 now go ahead
and make up your mind I’m going to be

worshiping in Chapter 12 I’m going to be
worshipping next Monday I’m going to be

worshipping no matter what happens in
this deal this dilemma this trial this

saturation point is only going to serve
to release greater glory in my life in

my family in my generation in my
bloodline there will be glory I declare

it and decree it by the eyes of faith

now y’all sit down and listen to this
story as it unfolds because at the end

of the story Mary is worshiping for what Jesus did

but first before she can worship she has
to wait and wait and wait

is He coming is He coming anybody heard
anything is He coming communication was

very primitive in John chapter 11 so we
don’t know if He’s coming until the

messenger gets back how else would we
know but here comes the messenger and

Lazarus is close to the end and you want
to know um where is He He’s not coming what do you mean

mean He’s not coming
He came when I cooked

but He didn’t come when I cried we feel
this way but we can’t talk about it my

job is to say what you think so you
don’t think you’re going to hell for

thinking it and this is kind of humorous too okay I love how God puts a little bit

of humor for those of us who are slow
when when Jesus got there um He said in

verse 7 let’s go back to Judea because
Bethany this village where Lazarus was

in the process of dying it’s two miles
from Jerusalem where there was a price

on Jesus’s head and the disciples
contradict Him they’re like but Rabbi a

short while ago the Jews there tried to
stone you and you’re going back you see

what I mean it would have been a
horrible job to be Jesus PR

representative chief-of-staff you can’t
get Him to do anything He it’s almost

like He’s God and He won’t be controlled
or something like that it’s almost like

faith is more mystery than it is
manipulation Jesus answered are there

not twelve hours of daylight anyone who
walks in the daytime will not stumble

for they see by this world’s light it is
when a person walks at night that they

stumble for they have no light that
clears it up we’re gonna die or not

after He said this He went on to tell
them our friend Lazarus has fallen

asleep but I am going there to wake him
up and His disciples replied do your

best stuff forrest gump voice lord if he
sleeps he will get better Jesus had been

speaking of his death but His disciples
thought He meant natural sleep verse 14

is my verse so He told them plainly
Lazarus is dead

now there comes some things in your life
that you interpreted at surface level and

then God has to make it plain He told
them plainly and not only He told them

plainly but He was about to reveal to
them in a way that they would never

forget an aspect of who He was that they
had not yet seen of all of the seven

signs that John’s Gospel records this is
the most important minus Jesus’ own

resurrection what is about to happen in
Bethany two miles from Jerusalem tells

us more about the character of Jesus
Christ than all of the other signs

combined because up until now Jesus has
been foreshadowing not only His death

and resurrection
but His fulfillment of the law and the

prophets now He’s about to do something
that He can only do not if He is a good

teacher not if He is a rabbi not if He
is a human instructor but what He is

about to do He can only do if He’s God
and while I was preparing this message

God said to tell you what He’s about to
do in your life is something that He can

only do not if He’s just a good teacher
not if He’s just a historical figure not

if He’s just a Santa Claus but if He is
God and I mean a great big God I mean

the word incarnate God I mean the
indestructible incomprehensible ever

living ever breathing God I mean Yahweh
the Great I Am me the healer the prophet

if He’s that He can do this He said I’m
gonna wake him up they say let him sleep

he’s sick and Jesus said my God you’re

and the remedial lesson of faith happens
in the action not the explanation

because verse 15 is kind of hard to
understand because He said for your sake

I’m glad I was not there so that you may

what did I tell you was the purpose of
John’s Gospel so that you may what feel

amazing so that you may get rich and
famous so that you may the Lazarus

factor is that everything that God
allows you to lose can lead to a deeper

belief in who He is

and I just want to know did you ever
lose something in your life only to know

God better on the other side and has
there ever been a time where God used

the thing that you would not have chosen
to happen to change you in a way and you

would not give the change for anything
even though you did not choose the

circumstances that caused it I thought

I thought when I was preparing everybody
has a Lazarus everybody has a

disappointment everybody has a current
expectation that we are processing and

Jesus shows up not on time I was gonna
say He’s fashionably late but He’s

actually functionally late He’s doing
work while they’re waiting He’s working

they assume He’s not there but He is
leaving a space that He intends to fill

He said I’m glad I wasn’t there because
sometimes my greatest lessons are taught

in the spaces that you consider my

sometimes your greatest faith is built
in the absence of your feeling and your

greatest wisdom is built in the absence
of your understanding but let us go to

Him then Thomas also known as didymus
said to the rest of the disciples let’s

go also that we may die with them lots
of faith with these twelve guys right

these are the all-stars these are the
ones that He’s gonna entrust the gospel

to go to the world
great plan Jesus well on His arrival I

want to show you this in verse 17 Jesus
found that Lazarus had already been in

the tomb for four days now Bethany was
less than two miles from Jerusalem I

think I told you that already and many
Jews had come to Martha and Mary to

comfort them in the loss of their
brother in the loss of Lazarus and you

will have people in times of loss that
can support you to a certain level but

there is only so much that others can do
with being mad at people because they

can’t give you what only God has and
quit pushing people out of your life

because they can’t be everything to you
only God can be everything to you so

they came to comfort but they couldn’t
change the situation so when they got

there I don’t know who that was for but
I felt the Holy Spirit on that and when

when Jesus got there many Jews had come
to comfort them but when Martha heard

verse 20 that Jesus was coming she went
out to meet Him but Mary stayed home we

are seeing their personalities who you
are is who you are we are seeing Mary

stay home because what am I going to do
about it we are seeing Martha meet Jesus

at the gate of the village because I’m
not even sure if I want Him to come back

to my house I’m not cooking nothing

the kitchen is closed today You can have
some doordash today I hope you got

Ubereats Peter because I’m not feeding
none of y’all today

and she met Him watch this sobbing at
the gate weeping at the gate mad at the

gate as Lazarus’ hope went down and he
eventually was dead and his body

according to the Jewish superstition

within three days the breath could come
back to the body and the process could

be reversed but now that hope is gone
because it’s the fourth day Jesus shows

up after there is a hope that
resurrection can happen by natural

spiritual customs so Martha comes to the
gate find time for you to show up thanks

a lot for thanks a lot for nothing Jesus
thanks a lot for your teaching Jesus

thanks a lot for being my God Jesus
thanks a lot I prayed to you

my marriage and now it’s over thanks a
lot God I did everything I knew to do

she saying stuff like this but then she
said a word in verse 21 that shifts the

the attention from what she has just
lost to the possibility that exists in

this moment still and I want to pray
that the Lord would give us through His

word this same shift in verse 21 where
she says Lord kurios Lord Martha said to

Jesus if you had been here so she ain’t
saying nothing real worshipful right

she’s actually very mature to know that
the presence of Jesus is an excellent

place to process your disappointments
and if you don’t learn how to process

your disappointments in His presence
you’ll process them somewhere else that

is not safe or they will become toxic
oxygen and you will choke on the lack of

the compassion that He can give so I
think it’s really beautiful the Lazarus

factor lets me know that I can let God
know when I’m let down you know you

never lost a battle except this one you
never lost the battle you remember I

came over a studio that day we were
playing around and I said you’ve never

lost a battle and I talked about what if
we recorded that and we may do this

remix for a Christmas version or
something um if it gradually got more

honest as you’re saying it you’ve never
lost a battle you seldom lost a battle

oh come on this is John chapter 11
Lazarus is dead

Yeah but he’s about to be resurrected he
dies again he still dies he just got

resurrected for a little while he’s not
still walking around

everybody dies he dies again there’s
only one person who didn’t die again

it’s about to become plain in a minute I
promise you what God is doing in this

season of your life is about to become
plain but only if you get honest only if

you get honest if You had been here my
brother would not have died but I know

that say the next two words out loud
even now it would be one thing for you

to stay in the past it will be another
thing for you to look to the future but

there is power in the now there is power
in the presence of God there is power in

an honest confession of faith that I
don’t understand this turn of events but

I know that even now God will give you
whatever you ask I know that possibility

stands before me when now I know that
potential for healing is before me when

why aren’t y’all here with me I thought
I was in front of some people who have

lost some Lazarus in your life and lost
some time and maybe even lost some

opportunity and maybe even lost some
hope and maybe even lost some optimism

but I declare now in the name of Jesus
even now God can do it even now God can

break it even now God can fulfill it
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