We are called to be patient because we perceive that things are getting out of hand, and that God is getting late
Yes God can be “late”, and the following is why?
1) God’s Time Is Not Our Time (2 Peter 3:8)
With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
1 day=1000 years; 1000 years=1 day. (1000yrs=86400 secs) 1 year =86,4 secs; 10 yrs=ca. 15mins). When we are counting years, God may be counting minutes.
No, God is not slow! The only point here is that He has ALL the time, why should He hurry? But that is the problem: When God doesn’t hurry because He has all the time, we begin to worry because we don’t have all the time. Isn’t this the reason the Bible keeps on reminding us not to worry? God would not tell us not to worry if there was no reason to worry.
No denying that God relates with us in time: “…but when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son,…” (Gal. 4:4).
But remember that He relates with us in and out of season. The promises of eternity are outside time. The hope that doesn’t disappoint is the hope of glory (Rom. 5:1-5; Col. 1:27).
God Was “Late” for the Following People
i) Wavering (capricious): Abraham and Sarah waiting for a child.
Abraham believed God, but wavered when Sarah advised him to get an alternative way to get the promised child. He went to Hagar, the Egyptian maid (Genesis 16:1).
ii) Stedfast: Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego (Dan. 3). Fiery and glowing furnace.
The three told King Nebuchadnezzar to his face that they were not going to worship the golden image. They told him that God whom they worship would deliver them (Dan. 3:16-18). They were willing to pay the price, but it is human for them to have expected the help from God to come before being thrown into the furnace. God was “late” until they were in the fire. If they were not resolute, at the verge of being thrown into the furnace, they would have reneged seeing that God had “failed” them. The same steadfastness replicates for Daniel in when he had to be thrown into the lion’s den (Dan. 6).
iii) Terrible Failure: Saul Offers Sacrifice
“He [Saul] waited for seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, ‘Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.’ And Saul offered up the burnt offering. Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. ‘What have you done?’ asked Samuel. Saul replied, ‘When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, I thought, “Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favour.” So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.’
‘You have done a foolish thing,’ Samuel said. ‘You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command’” (1 Samuel 13:8-14 NIV).
Note that it was Samuel, the prophet of God who set the time, but he didn’t turn up at the time he himself set.
2) His Ways are not our ways (Is. 55:8-9 NIV).
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Imagine the options Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego had! Suppose they reasoned like this: We will deal with the situation in our own way—will bow our heads (to dupe the king) but not our hearts.
If you have an appointment with God and He gets late, wait as long as it takes: www: we will wait!
Don’t Do it Your Way, Do What God Says
i) Don’t disobey God in order to please Him. Obedience is better than sacrifice (1Sam. 15:22-23).
ii) What you want is not as important as what God wants. Your best is not necessarily God’s best, but God’s best is your best even if it doesn’t look so at the moment.
I heard of a story of a man who had wanted to impress a lady he was dating. He prepared for her his best dish. The lady never liked the dish. The man was hurt but the lady reminded him that his best was not necessarily her best. He could have found out what is her best. This reminds of Eph. 5:10: “... and find out what pleases the Lord.”
iii) You can do a right thing in your eyes but it becomes a problem if it was not God who directed you to do it.
I read a story about a man who wanted to give roses as a birthday greeting to a lady he was dating. He told the lady that he will give a rose for each year. At the flower shop, the man asked for 21 roses but the florist was impressed by his gentleman mien. She decided to add 4 extra roses and send to the address the man had given. That broke the relationship between the dating duo. The message was clear: You say you are 21 but you look 25. The lady would not talk to the man again, despite him pleading to be told what the problem was.
“...hold on to what is good...” (1 Thes. 5:21).
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
Keep trusting and hoping “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (1 Thes. 5:24). If He doesn’t do it, He knows why.
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