Today's verses are John 11:5,6: "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  So when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was." My child, how I loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  They were close, dear friends.  I enjoyed many moments of love, laughter and rest with them.  They were very special to me.  I needed them as a part of my earthly life and ministry.

If I needed close friends, as God in human flesh, so do you.  You cannot live a life following me in solitude.  In fact, when you are isolated is often when you are in spiritual danger.  When isolated, your feelings toward me can quickly wane.  When isolated, problems become bigger than they are.  When isolated, hope diminishes and faith decreases.

As one of my followers, make sure you remain in community.  Make sure you have friends with whom you share faith.  I needed it.  So do you.

When I received the news that my dear friend, Lazarus, was ill, I delayed two days before going to Bethany.  The reason I did so was to force my friends to go through the normal grieving experience  and process of death.  I did this because I loved them!

That may sound strange, but it's true.  I wanted them to reach a state of exhausted hopelessness so that eventually they'd turn to me.  I wanted all their human strength gone.  I wanted me to be their only hope.  I wanted them to see a profound demonstration of my power over death.  I wanted them to witness my Father's and my glory.

My child, please learn from this encounter.  First, know that I don't always answer prayers according to your wishes or expectations.  I always answer my children's prayers.  But not as you may always wish.  I am God.  You are not God.  Most of your problems come when you get those two things confused.  Continue to trust me, especially when the answer is not what you expected.  I'm working in ways you cannot see.  I will find a way for you when there seems to be no way.

Also, understand that my delay is not my denial.  Mary and Martha cried out to me to come to them immediately in Bethany.  Yet I waited two days before I finally came.  I did answer their prayers, but not how they expected nor on their timetable.  I forced them to wait upon me, to increase their dependence upon me.

No one likes to wait.  You live in a fast-paced, immediate gratification, micro-wave world.  You want answers yesterday!  But that's now how I work.  I often delay to force a deeper faith, a more intense understanding of who I am in your life.  As "weight training" forces physical muscles to grow stronger through resistance, so does "wait training" from me force your spiritual muscles to grow stronger through resistance.  Spiritual strength increases as you learn to wait upon me.

Learn to wait patiently upon me.  Learn to continue to trust me when I may delay in my answer.  There are reasons for the delay.  There are purposes in me forcing you to wait.  My delay is not my denial to your request.

You can trust me today.