Why Won't God Hurry Up?
By Eric Speir
July 25, 2012
Eric is a pastor, college professor and practical theologian. He believes the Bible is meant to be lived out, not just read. To get a free eBook and see more posts like this one, you can visit his blog EricSpeir.com and you can follow him on Twitter @ericspeir.
A few years ago, I struggled every day to get up for my job. Describing the job as miserable would be a severe understatement. My boss was a modern-day Napoleon, and the commute was nerve wracking. I really wanted to be in full-time ministry and had been begging God to do something to get me there.
In prayer one morning, I felt the Lord tell me I would work for the church I had been faithfully serving. I was excited about this and expected it to happen soon. I ran off to tell my wife, then waited for the call from the bullpen to go play with the pros.
The only problem was that it took me four years to see anything happen.
Maybe you have your own version of this story. You heard from God, but nothing happened or is happening yet. You’ve read your Bible and underlined the right verses, but the reality of the wait is crushing you. You’ve waited so long, you're beginning to wonder if God is mad at you or if you offended Him in some way. You're thinking if you just do the right things or pray the right mix of words, somehow God will notice you—because He hasn't seemed to notice you yet.
You’ve waited so long, you're beginning to wonder if God is mad at you.
You're not ready for the size of what you'll receive
In the Old Testament, God promises the Israelites the Promised Land, yet He seemed to drag His feet on keeping His promise to them. But God gives us insight into His thoughts on this in a few small verses:
God didn’t give the Israelites the Promised Land all at once because they were not yet large enough to occupy it. If God had given them all the land promised to them right away, the wild animals would have outnumbered them and destroyed the hard work they put in to cultivating the land.
"But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land." (Exodus 23:29-30, NIV)
As a father, I can understand this. I would never give my 9-year-old the keys to the car and tell her to be home by dark. At 9 years old, she isn’t prepared or experienced enough to safely control the car. That car is like a wild animal to her. But when she’s ready, I will give her the privilege and responsibility to drive it. Just like the Israelites, God will only give us what we are prepared to handle once we're prepared to handle it.
You're unlearning improper worship
God will only give us what we are prepared to handle once we're prepared to handle it.
You're learning dependence on God
The Lord gave the Israelites the Promised Land “little by little” because it required them to wait upon Him the entire way through it. When we have to wait on God it teaches us to depend on him more. Maybe the Israelites would have turned their backs on God if they received all the land at once because they wouldn't have felt the need for Him anymore—they'd have gotten what they wanted, and life would be good.
The time I spent waiting on God those four long years kept me asking questions and learning to pray. In fact, I spent many hours in the car praying while driving through Atlanta traffic. (It was either learn to pray or give in to road rage.) And during that season, I learned God is more interested in His relationship with me than my own personal comfort.
You're needed to help others right now
Maybe right now, God wants to use you to help others who are struggling.
God is preparing you for a successful transition into His plan when you’re ready. If He does it too soon, you won’t be ready for it, and it won't be ready for you.
Don’t confuse times of waiting as a sign of God’s anger. You're going through a process that prepares you for the plans God has for you—and I suspect you'd rather have God take His time and make you ready than plunge you into water that's over your head. Am I right?