Before we complain about the lateness of the Lord let us stop to consider a few possibilities that may underlie His delay. What possibilities? There are two that readily come to my mind. Maybe He has not come to save us from our tribulation because we have not called Him. In the Scriptures God responds to the requests of His people. In fact, He has conditioned some of His actions on prayer (Isaiah 58:9; Matthew 7:8). When we are asking where is the God of Elijah the answer may be that he is waiting for Elijah to call Him (James 5:17); call Him, Elijah.
There is another possibility. We are calling and He is not coming on purpose. It is possible that His delay is deliberate. In this case the lateness of the Lord is the outworking of His plan to use our troubling times to accomplish something. Remember, He is wise, all-knowing, loving, just, and holy.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, NKJV)
If God is delaying your deliverance there is no actual problem in His decision not to come when we call. The problem, in this case, is in our perception. The tardiness of God must be seen, in light of His omnipotence, His omniscience, His great love for His people and unimpeachable character, as perceived and not actual. When viewed rightly, that is through eyes of faith, the delay of God is an expression of His love. That is, it is Him doing something for His glory and our good. Consider this passage from the Gospel of John:
1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 4 When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. (John 11:1–6, NKJV)
The family of Lazarus (he whom God helps) calls on Jesus (John 11:3). The Lord puts the prayer in perspective when he explains that the unpleasantry of Lazarus’ sickness was actually “for the glory of God” and that the Son of God was to be given glory through it (John 11:4). John says that Jesus loved Martha, her sister and Lazarus (John 11:5). Therefore, in light of (1) the purpose of their problem and (2) his love for them, He delayed (John 11:5-6). See it, friend. The Son of God was guided by the goal of glorifying the Father, being seen rightly as the Son of God, and by love to not come immediately. Think on that for a moment. In a season of suffering our Lord may actually wait a while before coming to our aid. Why? Because there is in our troubling time an opportunity to magnify the Almighty and to love us in a way that utilizes the unsavory season for good. With this view of the unpleasant time between our calling and His coming we can be genuine in praising Him as we wait.
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalm 34:1, NKJV)
In His grip by His grace,
Roderick L. Barnes, Sr.
P.S. The people seen in the picture above have waited on God. In due time he blessed their ministries, their marriages, and other aspects of their lives. But in both families there were times of difficulty that God was using to develop them. Darlene and I have been blessed by the example and encouragements of John and Amy. In the midst of messes they helped us to hang on to the truth that God is good and that the moment of misery, even when I caused it, was somehow making things better.