The incongruity of this passage causes me to stop and examine much of what I think. Love delays response? Death is just sleep? Information rather than correction?
I tend to think I need to keep Jesus informed about what is going on and what I think is the best solution to the problem. Reading Mary and Martha's message to Jesus in verse three convicts me. They felt all that was necessary was to inform Him and trust His response. I suspect from the rest of the story they thought His response would come more quickly. Because after all, Jesus loved not only Lazarus but his sisters. Despite this, Jesus responded by waiting two days.
Jesus' conversations with His disciples during the wait seems inconsistent. Lazarus is sick but not deathly sick. He is just asleep. No, he is dead. Since we know the rest of the story, it is easy to slide by these conversations. But Jesus' view of death is important for us to understand and know. In John 5:24-26 Jesus says anyone who has heard Him and believed Him who sent Him has passed from death to life, and He has the power of life. Jesus says in John 8:51 anyone who keeps His word will never see death. He later expands Martha’s understanding by telling her He is the Resurrection and the Life.
Jesus' delay and attitude toward Lazarus' death was for the good of all involved, uniquely his disciples and Mary and Martha. Jesus told the disciples the purpose of Lazarus' death was for Him and the Father to be glorified and that the disciple's faith might increase. Martha professed Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of God who is coming into the world. Something Mary obviously already understood.
So I am to keep Jesus informed, just like a little child telling a parent of the day's activities, trust Him to act in His own time and manner, knowing His purpose is to glorify the Father and Himself, and to increase my faith in Christ, the Son of God who came into the world.
Just as my pastor recently said, "If we knew what God knew, we would be satisfied where He has us". (This is my version. His was much better.)
"The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate." So part of fearing the LORD is to hate the things He hates.
1 John 5:19 says, "We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one". So the evil one controls the world around us.
1 John 2:15-16 says, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life - is not from the Father but is from the world". So the things the world offers; craving physical pleasure, a desire for what we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions are things the LORD hates.
James 4:4 says, "You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." So being friendly with the things of this world makes an enemy of God.
How do I live my life in God's beautiful majestic creation, enjoying the life He has given me and at the same time realizing the repugnance of much that surrounds me? Galatians 5:19-23 gets me started in the right direction.
Father, may the fruit of Your Spirit rather than the desires of the flesh permeate my life. I live in an evil and adulterous generation, but You call me to be salt and light where you have placed me. Give me eyes to see the idols in this world and make them repugnant to me. I want to hate what You hate, while loving my neighbor as myself.