I often hear Christians bemoan how long God takes to do stuff. This is especially so when it comes to the salvation of someone we love. It’s a hard thing to see someone head the wrong way. Why doesn’t God stop them?
There are many cliched Christian answers to for the “why does God take forever” dilemma:
–God’s timing is not our timing. There must be a reason why He is not intervening.
–God is eternal. A day with Him is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. We’re only impatient because we’re temporal.
–God works in mysterious ways.
–God’s word does not return void. They will be saved in God’s time.
Although some of these answers have kernels of truth, none of them rightly address the issue.
Most, if not all, of these answers approach things from a Calvinist perspective:
God does all the saving; people do nothing.
People are not saved because God doesn’t save them.
Therefore, we blame God for their unbelief. What is He waiting for?
The true answer to this dilemma is found in many places in the Bible, but perhaps most explicitly in Isaiah 30:18:
And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.
Isaiah 30’s context is about Israel waiting on God to bring judgment. They wait for Jerusalem to be elevated and peace to come, for all their promises to be fulfilled once and for all. Right now, however, as Isaiah writes these words, they are suffering.
They are waiting on God to fulfill His word. So, what is He waiting for? Why is He taking so long? Let’s get this thing going!
Isaiah wants them to know why God is taking forever to bring His judgment: He’s waiting for them to repent so He can be gracious! Isaiah 28:21 says judgment is God’s strange work. God would rather wait for people to repent than to wipe them out in impatience.
For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.
The word “return” is the word for “repent.”
When you stick the whole chapter together God is reminding a questioning and impatient people that they are the problem!
If they return to Him, He will be gracious. He says that to them all over the place through the prophets. He’s holding off on final judgment so more may repent. That’s called GRACE.
As they are waiting for God, God is waiting for them!
Perhaps our impatience with God has more to do with our stupidity than God’s slackness in keeping His promises.
When it comes to finding fault, start with people and never throw the blame on God. We’re the idiots in this scenario.