Are We There Yet?

If you have children, or were ever a child at some point in your life, you’ve heard it before. It could be twenty minutes in, or five hours in, but somewhere between your starting point and your destination, a slightly whiny yet somewhat hopeful voice emits from behind your right ear “Are we there yet?”. Depending on your mood and the number of times you’ve already heard it, your response could vary from “No, sweetie, not yet” to a low growl. My kids are 4. They’ve already been on several multi-state car trips, and we also live about 30 minutes from “town”. They’re used to the car, most definitely. You would think as many times as we drive to town, they would realize you have to pass this white house, then that gas station, then this store before we get to town. Nevertheless, the pestering begins before we leave the driveway. They don’t mean to get on my nerves, all they know is that in their frame of time reference they have been in the car, waiting, a very long time.

Did you ever think that sometimes, we are just like our children in the backseat? No? Sure we are. We make a small request of God, usually in prayer from, and then we start
pestering. God? Yoo hoo? Are you going to answer my prayer? Today? Tomorrow? Can you just tell me when? How much longer? Are we there yet?

In fact, I’ve pestered God quite a bit lately. My family is currently taking a big spiritual step in our lives, and I really want God to do something huge for us. As in “walk on water” and “raise folks from the dead”-type huge. So I pray, and wait. Almost a week. And then it looks, at least from my perspective, that we haven’t gotten one mile closer to our destination. In fact, sometimes it seems like we’ve lost ground! So I remind God, ever so gently (not nagging, just reminding) that our need is still present. And then I wait. Again. And I impatiently sigh and wish and hope and pray that God would answer my prayer so that my life can go back to its normal, organized pattern.
But I am reminded that sometimes God waits to answer prayers so that His glory can be revealed. Think of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. This famous story from John 11 in the Bible showed that God’s timing is perfect. Sure, he could have come running when word was sent that Lazarus was sick. Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha were very dear to Jesus. And after all, Lazarus wasn’t even dead at that point, and Jesus surely could have reversed whatever was ailing him. But verse 6 says that “after He heard that he (Lazarus) was sick, He stayed two more days in the place that He was.” Huh? So Jesus knew Lazarus was sick, and he’d heard Mary and Martha’s requests, yet rather than fix their problems immediately, he chose to hang out a couple more days? Was He ignoring Mary and Martha?

Once he finally arrived, Lazarus had been dead four days. Both Mary and Martha knew God’s power, and told him “Lord, if you had been here, our brother would not have died”. However, they were both limiting God. Surely they thought that if Jesus came before Lazarus died, He could save him. But now that Lazarus is dead, all hope is gone, and they will have to wait to be reunited with him in heaven.

The answer to the questions in both paragraphs above is the same. No, Jesus wasn’t ignoring Mary and Martha, He was just answering their need in His time, not theirs, and in His way, not theirs. Allowing Lazarus to die and be dead for four days meant that the body would have already started to decompose, and that truly a miracle would have occurred to raise him from the dead. This would prevent people from saying “wellll, Lazarus wasn’t really dead” or “He wasn’t really that sick”. Oh, he was sick for sure. And dead on top of it. But raising Lazarus from the dead also unveiled a power that Mary and Martha hadn’t even considered as available to them. Jesus performed a miracle in raising their brother, and he also revealed to them much more of the power that He had and who he was. It was not just for their benefit that this miracle would happen, but for the Glory of God, and so that even more people would see and believe.

You see, the same as he did with Martha and Mary, He doesn’t ever reveal to us that He’s “almost ready to answer our prayers”. Instead, he just waits until we get to the destination and reveals not only that His plan from the beginning was much more miraculous than we imagined it would be, but far more than what our lowly expectations are. So, rather than ask God “are we there yet?”, I will trust in my heart that the destination He has for us is in perfect time, will be miraculous, and will be beyond anything I can imagine.


  1. says

    Very nicely put! It’s all so clear; and yet so difficult at the same time!

    On a side note, the first time I ever competetively spoke, my speech was entitled, “Are We There Yet?” Just thought I’d share that with you. Hadn’t thought about it in a *long* time!

    Love you! :)

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