When God Seems Late

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. (2 Peter 3:8 NIV)

Has it ever felt like God showed up late or was absent when you needed Him? Confession… I’ve felt this way before. For some reason often we pretend like we don’t struggle with doubt and moments of weakness but I haven’t met a person yet who hasn’t in their life at some point.

As I’ve been reading through the Book of Exodus, the story of God’s miraculous deliverance of the nation of Israel from Egypt through His servant Moses, I’ve been captivated by the thought: God’s timing is not our timing. For hundreds of years the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob suffered in slavery and bondage in Egypt. For doubtless hundreds of years as they cried out to God in their despair it must have felt as if God had forgotten them.

Do you ever feel like that? Like “God where are you?” Does God ever feel distant, far away, or unconcerned with your life? The Hebrews found out exactly what you and I should never forget: God is never unconcerned with our suffering. In Exodus 3:7 we see God proclaim to Moses: I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. Today I want to remind you that even when God feels far away, distant, or unconcerned, none of those things could be further from the truth. 

As I read the historical records of the Exodus, I thought about another time where God “seemed late”. Lazarus, a dear friend of Jesus and the brother of Martha and Mary (also dear friends of Jesus) was sick and dying. In the Scripture we see a very concerned Martha and Mary send word to Jesus: “the one whom you love is sick” (John 11:3). Martha, Mary, and Lazarus were loved by Jesus and Martha and Mary knew that Jesus had the power to heal their dying, desperately sick brother.

If you read the story in John 11:3-27 (which I strongly urge you to) you will see that God’s timing, plan, and purposes don’t always match our own. After receiving the urgent word of Lazarus’ pending death, Jesus waited… four agonizing, painful, heartbreaking days as Mary and Martha watched (powerlessly) their brother Lazarus die.

Just like God did with the national of Israel, Jesus did with Lazarus. Though God showed up 430 years after Israel expected Him and Jesus showed up 4 days after Martha and Mary expected Him… He was right on time. If you read the Exodus story and the story of Lazarus you are going to see the same conclusion… God is faithful. We can trust His timing. Even when Jesus is 4 days late… He is right on time.

So what’s the application for you and me? Don’t lose heart. Don’t give up. Continue trusting God even when His timing seems off. Trust His faithfulness. Continue to pray. Continue to seek His face. Continue to keep the faith.