THE GOD WHO WAITS

Bible Reading: John 11:1-6

It is is a good thing to wait for God, but God also waits, and does things in His time, and when He is ready. God’s Word says, “He [God] makes all things beautiful in His time” [Ecclesiastes 3:11].

When Jesus heard the news that Lazarus was sick He chose to stay where He was [John 11:6]. He didn’t respond immediately, because He knew that His Father had an agenda of which Martha and Mary were not aware [John 11:4]. To heal Lazarus would have been wonderful, but for Jesus to raise him from the dead was an even more remarkable sign to help people believe and understand who Jesus was [see John 11:40,42].

Abraham was seventy-six years old and impatient for God to fulfil His promise and so he had a child by Hagar. He did not understand God’s timing, and so God waited for thirteen years [compare Genesis 16:16 and Genesis 17:1] until Abraham’s body and Sarah’ womb were as good as dead. It then had to be a miracle of faith, and not self-effort [Romans 4:18-21].

God spoke to Jacob through a dream [Genesis 28], but Jacob continued on his own wilful and selfish way. God waited for twenty-five years and then one night wrestled with him [Genesis 32:22-33]. He was broken and his life totally changed forever.

God did not judge the Amorites for four generations because their sin had not yet reached its full measure [Genesis 15:16]. God knew that this people would grow even more wicked and would someday need to be punished. Even though God knew that they would not repent, in His mercy he gave them both the time and opportunity to do so. There would be a right time for them to be punished. God is merciful, all-knowing, acts justly, and His timing is perfect!

Perhaps one of the most beautiful pictures of God is the father in the story of the prodigal son. It might just as well have been called “The Parable of the Waiting Father.”

As missionaries struggling on a fanatical Muslim Island in Indonesia, we were encouraged by a vision that a senior missionary had of God’s fire in the main square of the town where we lived. We have seen drops of His mercy but we still believe after forty years for that vision to come to pass. We may not see it in our lifetime, but we know that in God’s perfect time it will happen!

We live in an age of consumerism and wanting things instantly, but it is good to remember that God has His own time scale. David was aware of this when he “cried to the Lord and then waited patiently for Him” [Psalm 40:1].

Questions:

Why do you think people become discouraged when God doesn’t always instantly answers their requests, or doesn’t answer in the way they expect?

Is there a promise that God has given you that has not yet been fulfilled? Will you continue to believe His promise and trust for it to happen in God’s time?