Patience is one of the hardest virtues for us to understand. In a world of instant makeovers, instant food, instant internet, instant credit and instant ulcers!, patience seems to have been relegated to the ‘bad old days' of yesteryear. Why wait when we can have everything instantly?
We pray to a God who knows everything, including our needs. We know that he's able to help us at any moment he chooses. We know that he who defines himself as ‘love' and gave his Son for us isn't reluctant to help us. So why, when we ask God to intervene in our situation, is there often a delay?
Nowhere in the Bible does God promise instant answers to our prayers. His promises for answered prayer are both amazing and reassuring, but none of them include a timetable. He only assures us that he's never too late.
Yet, in our impatience, we don't want an answer that's merely ‘not too late'. We want an answer now. We have needs, and we don't understand why those needs must be prolonged.
But God has his reasons. Perhaps our needs are being prolonged because they're accomplishing something in us that nothing else will. Perhaps they're being prolonged because God is doing a necessary work in the life of someone else who is involved in our situation. Perhaps he's teaching us about the nature of prayer or perfecting our faith. Maybe he's even letting us identify with Jesus and his sufferings. He's always trying to conform us to the likeness of Christ and perhaps this is another way of doing that.
Sometimes God will make clear that our answer is delayed because the delay will further his work in our own hearts or in another area. Sometimes he gives us no reason at all. The Christian's wise response, in either case, is to know that if we are waiting on God, there must be a very good reason. And if we wait in faith and expectancy, the wait will be amply rewarded.
God's timing is always perfect. Simply wait upon him and be patient.
With every blessing.
© Copyright Hatfield Church / Tim Sweed 2008