Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When Too Late Isn't Too Late

Imagine a young girl sitting in a hospital bed slowly succumbing to a terminal disease for which there is only one cure. This girl is greatly loved by a hero who is the only one who can rescue her from the disease. As she lies in bed, her family knowing that she's nearing the end, she waits for her hero to come with the cure. Her family just knows he'll show up in time. He's never let them down. They even sent him a message to let him know how desperately he was needed, and he had the means to be there at a moment's notice. But the girl's father sits staring at his watch. He hasn't heard anything back, and his daughter is getting weaker by the moment.

It's Not Too Late

The hero finally shows up with the cure...three days after the little girl's funeral.

That's not exactly the hero story we would expect. The little girl is beyond the point of being helped. What do you do when the hero turns out not to be a hero after all? How do we handle when the hero shows up too late for us?

Wouldn't it be great if too late wasn't actually too late?

Two thousand years ago, Jesus seemed to show up too late on several occasions. His friend Lazarus was dying. When he was warned that Lazarus was nearing the end, he stayed another two days where he was. Lazarus had been in a tomb four days when Jesus finally showed up. Had Jesus come sooner, he could have done something, but Lazarus in the tomb was beyond helping. It was too late.

We know what it's like for too late to creep upon us. The time for hope is gone.

But, for Jesus, too late wasn't too late. He didn't have to follow the rules of nature. Death could be undone. Tragedy could be undone. Sure enough, Jesus calls Lazarus out of the tomb, alive and well. Too late wasn't too late, after all.

The same thing happened with a man named Jairus' daughter. She died. It was too late, and Jairus was devastated. But Jesus undid the tragedy after it was too late. Which means that it wasn't actually too late.

Life hits pretty hard sometimes, and we're often desperate for God to come through for us. But many of us are probably familiar with the experience of too late arriving before God does. So we cling to the God for whom too late isn't too late, and we await our hero to come through. Refuse to lose hope when everything looks grim.

"By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back." - Hebrews 11:17-19

When have you experienced a time when God showed up too late?

Photo Credit: Fleur-Ange Lamothe on Flickr

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