I don’t know how many times I have said that to God, or at least something similar. “Now, God. Please take care of this now!” Yet another sentence in the same prayer was probably something like, “Please be patient with me, I’m really trying.” Avenge me of my adversaries immediately, but don’t avenge my sins for Yourself until I have had time to repent—a self-serving double standard if there ever was one.
God does not operate on my timetable. He does not operate on yours. Because He inhabits eternity (Isa 57:15) He sees and knows when the time is right. He is not limited by living only in the present.
Can you explain the fact that God did not send Nathan to David for about a year after his sin with Bathsheba? Uriah was dead, David had married Bathsheba, and the child they made together had been born. Perhaps God knew it would take that long for David to be receptive to Nathan. Perhaps He knew that holding his small son in his hands would make David’s heart softer. Who knows why, but that is the way God chose to do it, while in a similar circumstance the Corinthian church was commanded to withdraw from an adulterous brother the next time they met together.
As for us, sometimes we cannot know why God allows things to happen when and as they do. I can often see later on that things turned out better than if they had happened on my schedule instead of God’s, but nearly as often I cannot. I am left to wonder. The good that has been accomplished may not become evident until I am dead and gone. I simply must trust that God knows best.
Patience in the Bible is not about waiting quietly. The patience of Job was noisy indeed. Patience in the Bible is about endurance, about keeping on till the end, about being steadfast even when you don’t understand, and about trusting God’s timetable when your own makes a lot more sense to you.
Think of Noah who built that ark waiting for God’s promised flood for 120 years. I wonder what his neighbors were saying after just one year, or how much they sneered after ten, much less 120. Think about Abraham, who received a promise that was not fulfilled in his lifetime, or for a thousand years afterward. Think about Sarah and Elizabeth, women who wanted children more than anything else, but did not receive them until old age had made it seem impossible. For a Being who inhabits eternity, “impossible” does not apply, and time is immaterial. Remember them and wait on the Lord. He will save you, in His way, and in His time.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! Psalm 27:13,14
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