Why Does God Take So Long?

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Shawn Akers

It's hard to wait on God, but He knows best.

Are you tired of waiting on God? Have you been saying, “I’ve waited long enough?” Waiting on God to act can truly be one of the worst things we have ever done. One of the most exasperating aspects of God is His slowness to step in on our behalf. But the more we get to know Him, the more we see that His slowness is not such a bad thing after all; it is for our good.

What if you could ask for anything you honestly want?

Have you ever fantasized that God might come to you as He did to Moses and ask you what you want Him to do for you? What if He did come to you and invited you to ask for anything you like? What do you suppose you would ask for? And what if there were no conditions—that is, you need not ask for what is noble, altruistic or even God-honoring—that it could even be a selfish request? You simply have an opportunity to ask for one thing and it will be answered. What would you request?

God had let Moses know He was pleased with him: “You have found favor with me,” the Lord said to him. Moses seized the moment and replied to God, “If I have found favor in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You” (Ex. 33:13, emphasis added).

One of the things Moses learned about God’s ways is His slowness to act.

Moses was arguably the greatest leader of men in human history. He might have asked for any number of things—vengeance on His enemies, for example. But the truth of his heart surfaced: Moses wanted to know God’s ways. This convicts me. I ask: Would I want to know God’s ways above any other request?

I will admit to you that Moses’s request puts me to shame. I cannot remember asking that of God. I certainly asked for a lot of other things.

I want to finish well. I would have thought that the safest guarantee that one will finish well is to make Moses’s request—to know God’s waysyour true desire.

The apostle Paul’s supreme wish was the same—”to know Him,” that is, Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:10). You may want to ask, “Paul, are you saying you don’t know the Lord?” Of course Paul knew the Lord. But his deepest longing was to know Christ better. That is what he meant by the words, “To know Him.”

I have learned this. The better you get to know God, the more you want to know Him. The more you know Him, the more you are in awe of Him. The more you know Him, the more you want to spend time with Him. The more you spend time with Him, the more you feel you need him. The best way to get to know anybody is to spend time with them. So too when it comes to knowing God.

Moses frequented what was called the tent of meeting. It was there that the Lord spoke to Moses, “Face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex. 33:11). It was in the tent of meeting that Moses put his request to the Lord—that he might know God’s ways.

God lamented that ancient Israel did not know His ways (Heb. 3:10). God wants us to know His ways. But we must be prepared for this: His ways are different from our ways (Is. 55:8-9). What if we don’t like God’s ways?

One of God’s ways is His slowness, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Pet. 3:8). Time is His domain. He is in no hurry. But we are. God can—to us—seem so slow.

Yet God can act so quickly when He chooses. Once Jesus was born, suddenly, a great company of heavenly host appeared with the angel (Luke 2:13-14), and after waiting hundreds of years for Joel’s prophecy to be fulfilled, suddenly a sound of a violent wind came from heaven (Acts 2:1-2).

So why is God slow in making things happen? He tells us why. We may or may not like the reason: that He might gain greater glory. The God of the Bible is a God of glory (Acts 7:1-2). Whatever He does, it is for His glory. The longer He waits, the greater the glory. But it also means greater the reward and greater the joy for us.

Adapted from It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over by R. T. Kendall, copyright 2015, published by Charisma House. If you’ve ever gotten tired of waiting for God’s answers, this book is for you. It will encourage you to persevere, not give up, keep keeping on, run the race, and finish well.  To order your copy, click here.

Prayer Power for the Week of August 24, 2015

This week, dare to ask God to show you His ways, and not just His works. Honor Him for who He is, and not just for what He does. Ask Him to draw you into greater intimacy in your relationship and tell Him you trust Him to fulfill every promise He has made no matter how long it takes. Continue to pray for worldwide revival, laborers for His harvest field, our government and spiritual leaders, Israel and the church (Ex. 33:13; Heb. 3:10; 1 Tim. 2:1-5).

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