How to Have Faith in the Waiting: 3 Lessons From Mary of Bethany
Questions raced through her mind. The tears wouldn’t stop flowing. Overwhelming pain and unanswered questions came like a flood.
He’s Gone. He is really gone. How can I move on without him?
Mary and Martha had just lost their beloved brother. And in their grief, they were left wondering where Jesus was?
Maybe you’ve been there where you have cried out to God in your pain, only to be left waiting in silence, frustration, or grief.
Perhaps the pain was due to the loss of a relationship. Or a family member who walked away from their faith. Maybe the demise of your health was the cause of your distress. Whatever the reason, your circumstances brought you to a place where you felt very alone and confused. You called out to Jesus in your despair, and as you quietly waited for a response, none came. There was only silence.
So, how do you move forward in the silence? What do you do when you feel alone and hopeless?
“You wait upon the Lord. Trust the Lord! Be brave and strong and trust the Lord.” Psalm 27:14 CEV
My dear friend, learning to trust God in the waiting is a delicate balance of patience and understanding, particularly when it comes to God’s will and timing. Patience knowing that God is working all things out for your good (Romans 8:28) and understanding that the strengthening of faith takes time and preparation. So, how do we learn to have faith in the waiting?
Mary of Bethany is an excellent example of a woman who trusted God and exhibited a delicate balance of patience and understanding in the waiting despite her circumstances.
Let’s look at how you, too, can trust God in your season of waiting.
How Do We Learn to Trust God in the Waiting?
1. Seek Him
“The sisters sent a message to the Lord and told him that his good friend Lazarus was sick.” John 11:3 CEV
Mary had an established relationship with Jesus. She was a faithful disciple. She knew Him and spent time in His presence, gleaning truth and love. Mary of Bethany was the same woman who anointed the feet of Jesus with costly perfume, which was a beautiful act of devotion.
What is your history with Christ? How well do you know Him? It is said that Mary regularly invited Jesus into her home (CSB Study Bible for Women). Do you regularly invite Jesus into your home? Where has He met you in your journey?
Even though Mary and Martha knew Jesus personally, as their Rabbi and friend, when their brother fell sick, Mary and Martha’s first response was to ask Jesus to come quickly.
And you, my sweet sister-in-Christ, are invited to do the same.
The Father of heaven and earth is good and faithful, and His greatest desire is to have a relationship with you. He is delighted when you invite Him into your places regardless of your situation.
What space will you invite Him into today?
2. Surrender to Him
“Mary went to where Jesus was. Then as soon as she saw him, she knelt at his feet and said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw that Mary and the people with her were crying, he was terribly upset.” John 11:32-33 CEV
This scripture passage describes Mary’s raw and deep emotions over her brother’s death and the sadness of those around her. Finding Mary in so much distress, John 11:35 states, “Jesus wept.” Upon sensing the pain and sadness of Mary and Martha, Jesus was overcome with emotion and wept. Commentaries state Jesus wept for their pain, their loss, and for the unbelievers.
A significant part of trusting God is continuing to trust Him through life’s challenges and difficulties and the myriad of emotions and feelings experienced in times of adversity. Trusting God is to surrender to Him. When you submit to God, you trust Him to provide for you. You no longer trust your strength or abilities because you fully trust in God.
It’s not easy to let go of striving and planning. It may feel like life will be out of control if you surrender, but it is quite the opposite. When we surrender to God, we place our complete trust and confidence in His Will for us. It is faithful assurance that God’s way is the only way.
Have you fully surrendered your life to Christ? Is there a situation in your life where you need to submit to Christ? If so, I encourage you to take a moment and call out to Him in surrender. Listen for His voice and confess your need for Him today.
3. Remember Him
“Many of the people who had come to visit Mary saw the things Jesus did, and they put their faith in him.” John 11:45 CEV
As we invite God into our spaces and surrender to Him, it is essential that we also look back and remember His goodness.
The truth is that sometimes as you seek Him, your greatest prayers may not be answered based on your desires or timetable, but thankfully He will always answer your prayers according to His will for your life and those around you.
Let’s look back at Mary’s response to Jesus upon her brother’s death. In John 11:32, Mary exclaims, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” As Lazarus remained in the tomb for days, the cloud of grief and disbelief sat thick around those mourning.
Hearts were breaking. Resentment was festering. Discouragement was heavy.
Yet, as the people gathered, Jesus revealed to them the power and wonder of God, which caused many people to believe. In verse 40, Jesus reminds Mary, “Didn’t I tell you that if you had faith, you would see the glory of God?” Jesus then cast His gaze upward to call on the glory of God, and then in a loud voice, He summoned Lazarus to come out. And just like that, the people placed their faith in Him (John 11:45).
Where or who are you placing your faith today? I want to encourage you to remember all God has done for you and call upon Him in complete faith and trust today.
Faith In the Waiting
I pray you will seek Him, surrender to Him, and remember His greatness as you walk through your season of waiting. As you wrestle with your own unknowns, may you remember the greater mission of your life – to share God’s truth and reflect His love and grace to those around you.
And as you wait, may the grace of God radiate through you, revealing His mercy to you and those who are watching – seek, surrender, and remember.
He is faithful in everything.
“But I trust the Lord God to save me, and I will wait for him to answer my prayer.” Micah 7:7 CEV