When God SEEMS late
You ask, “How could God ever be late? His timing is perfect.” True enough. But to us mere mortals, God does SEEM late at times. What do we do then? As we get into this topic, please do not be offended by my frank discussion – or even the question. I’m sharing some things I’ve had to learn too. We have an awesome Abba, our dear Father, and I love everything about Him – though at times, we are all going to be tested. At times, He seems like He’s not answering our prayers fast enough for our urgent needs. We need a healing perhaps, or to find a job, or to sell a house, or perhaps the answers have to do with requests we’re making for others. Even those seem to be taking too long – and sometimes, it appears it’s too late and God hasn’t spoken or acted for us. Or so it seems.
Am I the only one who feels this way sometimes? If you’re honest with yourself, I know most of you have felt the same thing – or will, sooner or later.
Here are a few examples from the Bible of what I mean by “when God seems late”:
• Abel’s murder at the hands of his brother. God showed up – but only after Abel was dead. Would Abel have thought as his brother was killing him, “God’s timing is perfect” – or might he have been tempted to think, “Yehoweh, where are you!? Why aren’t you intervening to save me?”
• God also intervened in the matter of David and Uriah. But not until Uriah had been killed. Humanly speaking, Uriah could certainly have felt like Yehoweh was late for him.
• Didn’t Mary and Martha think Yeshua (Jesus) was late in coming to heal Lazarus? He purposely waited two additional days before starting the trip – and by the time he got there, Lazarus had died! (John 11:3-6, 21-23). Think about that one. Mary thought he was late and said so! “Lord, had you been here earlier (or, “on time), my brother would not have died.”
• If you were Daniel about to be thrown into the lion’s den and the entrance to the den is being opened and so far you see no divine intervention, was God on time, or from a human perspective, a bit late? In the end, it was to God’s glory. His timing was perfect. But what about the hundreds of Christian brothers and sisters who were not spared from the vicious lions in the Coliseum of Rome? Would they have thought God was late - - or even didn’t show up? (Now don’t panic, more is coming.) But the fact is, God allowed so many of his people to be tortured and martyred, without apparent intervention from Him. Why?
When God seems to be deaf to your needs, or not answering your prayers, this blog may help you. Read the rest of this blog to understand more about “when God seems to be late”.
The fact is, Abba is never late for the ultimate good He has in mind. If He always acted the way WE prayed, we would be tempted to conclude “God is hearing and answering my prayers.” But in fact, if we let God answer in HIS time, in HIS way, we might have seen much more wondrous displays of His blessings and power. We’re assured that “eye has not seen, nor ear heard” the marvelous things God has prepared for those who love Him. That can be little solace, however, when a young child is not being healed - - or even dies. Or when we see so much injustice going on, especially the injustices that affect each of us. We ask, “Where are you, Father?” when we don’t see any apparent involvement from our heavenly Father.
I’m not alone in saying this. Read the Psalms. So many of them are full of the general tone of “where are you, YHVH?”, or “why are you taking so long to help or answer me?” So many of them have the general idea of “make haste to help me, YHVH” (Psalm 38:21-22; Psalm 28:1-2).
I recently gave a sermon (June 2013) about “Why YHVH allows so much pain and suffering” in the lives of even His own children. Sometimes we’d be tempted to say, “ESPECIALLY in the lives of even His own children.” So much is answered in that message.
In the end, it’s about absolutely trusting our dear Father Abba. We turned our lives over to him and He now owns us. Abba Most High gives special thought and protection to His children, to those who are His. We are so valuable to Him that Abba paid the ultimate price to have you be His own. The price He paid for YOU: the blood and life of His one and only Son, Yeshua (the name his mama called Him, meaning “salvation”. Or Yehoshua means “YHWH saves”.) That precious Being who spoke all creation into existence offered His life willingly, and with the Father’s will, paid for you and me (John 10:17-1 8; John 3:16; 1 Peter 1:17-19). The Word, our Shepherd, was Yehoweh’s companion (Zech. 3:17). He was God, and was with God, and made all things we see (John 1:1-3).
So YOU mean a lot to God in heaven.
If you paid dearly for something or someone, wouldn’t you be watching over that precious person? I know how I watch over my grandchildren. God does so even more. He calls us the “apple of His eye’ (Psalm 17:8; Deut 32:10). Anyone who harms the apple of His eye is poking God in the eye, according to Zechariah 2:8. You might enjoy the blog I wrote that goes into far more detail about being the “apple of His eye” (February 2012).
So when we think He is unaware of us, or not answering our prayers, don’t worry – He knows everything that’s going on. And yes, sometimes He will appear to be late or to even be unaware of what you’re going through. You ask Him: why won’t He help you find a job? You’re about to lose your home, and where is God, you ask. Trust Father. Healings you so desperately want to see don’t seem to be happening. Stop and ask Him what He’s trying to teach everyone – and then trust. Why isn’t your home selling – the one that’s been on the market for months and months? Ask Him, and then learn to listen, and trust. Did you ask Him first if He wanted you to sell your home? I have so many all across the country dealing with that issue.
The older I get, the longer I experience my Father and Savior, the more I have to conclude that if I’ve prayed for something, and if I also prayed for HIS will to be done and not my own, then I should relax and thank God for WHATEVER is happening – yes, even in disease, even in pain, even in sorrow – and yes, even in painful death. But so many times, Father wants to give us far more than we could even imagine. I’ve experienced both sides of the ledger: when Father has let me go through terrible anguish, and the other side of the ledger – the joy of seeing far more than I could have hoped for. The latter seems more likely to happen when I sincerely praise and thank Him in and for all things, regardless of what’s going on.
What Father wants us to remember: Trust Him. Believe you’re precious to Him even though He doesn’t often tell us why He isn’t “intervening” more the way WE think He should.
Father, our dear Abba, is never late. He’s doing what He has to do and when He wants to do it – and if we’re among the called, everything will work out for good when it’s all said and done (Romans 8:28).
However, for many of us, for many times in our lives, getting there will involve severe pain at times. There could be changes we have to make that may be uncomfortable for us (see R. Herbert’s recent blog on “Do you want to be well?”). But the pain itself often helps us to move in the direction Abba needs us to go in. Pain makes us move. So start seeing the pain, start seeing God’s “inaction” in new light and even thank Father for pain or for whatever He’s allowing in your life. Yes, I said thank Him for it. I know people who have had strokes, and can’t feel anything. They WISH they could FEEL again – including pain. They don’t even know if they’re cutting themselves, or burning their hands – because there’s no pain. Pain can be a blessing. If you haven’t heard it yet, I strongly recommend you listen to my most recent message – “Why YHVH allows so much Pain and Suffering” – June 2013.
So – God seemed late for Lazarus. He arrived after Lazarus died. But then again, He was on time to have a great number of people see a resurrection. Had Yeshua just shown up to heal him, maybe 2-3-4 people might have seen the healing or heard about it. But now, with dozens of people present, the resurrection was to God’s glory and we’re still reading about it.
Yehoweh (YHVH) was “late” for Uriah from a human standpoint. But in being “late”, what happened after that led David to a deep repentance and a seeking after God again. It led to children who became the forefathers of Joseph and Mary – and of Jesus Christ (Yeshua) himself.
Next time your Father and my Father – Abba God Most High – seems late, remember “no, He isn’t late. I just need to accept HIS timetable, His purpose and His will”. Certainly ask Him if He is trying to show you something or move you into a new direction that you’re not very comfortable with. And then praise and thank Him for whatever He is doing – and chill! Trust Him. True life is not about this life anyway.
Abba, always on time – HIS time. His way. His purpose and His will. Praise Yehoweh our Most High.