Do you consider yourself a patient person? I have great days with patience, and I have horrible days with it.
Here's a question I've been processing a bit lately: When we bank on God to uphold His promises to us, why does it feel like He takes His sweet time to answer?
Look at Joseph (start in Genesis 37). Look at Abraham (start in Genesis 17). Look at David (start in 1 Samuel 16). (There are plenty other examples - these are just the top 3 that come to mind.) Here are a bunch of God-fearing men who, after God spoke to them clearly about their future, each went through serious times of waiting. Joseph endured a couple years of waiting. David? At least a decade. Abraham? A quarter-century.
So why on earth didn't God just wait to tell them what He told them? Why not wait until the last day of the 25th year to tell Abraham what He told him, instead of putting Abraham through a 25-year patience pressure-cooker?
Well... we actually don't learn too much about why God spoke "early." We see that they each went through a bunch of trials and hardships. We see that they each cried out to God in panic and discouragement. But we don't ever get the answer to why God did it on that timeline.
Here are two reasons why I think God's timing plays out the way it does.
1) Going through (what seems like) silence from God is what builds a firm faith. If we've tried to boil His blessings down to a science (i.e. "this much prayer + this much Bible reading + this much worship = supernatural wonders!"), we'll come up short every time. God is creative. He is not a God of patterns; just look at how each of us look different, act different, have different struggles, and come to God differently. I think He stays silent at times because He wants our faith to depend not on what we can see, but that we actually believe in what we can't see (see Hebrews 11). If God was predictable, we would have no reason to trust Him.
2) We need to let go of the idea that we know what's best for ourselves! God may have had something waiting down the line for Abraham, David, and Joseph (...and all of us too, of course!), but God also had a perfect purpose for each and every minute that led up to God fulfilling what He had said. I can't imagine how the faith of those guys grew during their waiting. Their patience, trust, surrender, humility, and passion for God multiplied each and every day, I'm sure. God doesn't simply know where He wants us to go, but He knows exactly what we need to go through to get there.
These passages in Psalms (written by David, appropriately!) jumped out at me yesterday:
"Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act." (Ps. 37:5)
"Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." (Ps. 37:7)
"But to You, O Lord, do I wait; it is You, O Lord my God, who will answer." (Ps. 38:15)
These verses are powerful, but I think they're even more powerful knowing that the author had to deal with quite a bit of "being still" and "waiting" with God himself. David lived out what he spoke.
So, for those who find themselves getting impatient over the little things or the big things, remember that the Author of the timeline knows exactly what is needed and when it's going to happen. And He wants you to press in deeper, fully trusting that He is who He says He is in His Word.
It's a journey... and painful or not, it couldn't be sweeter.