On God’s time

One of the frustrating limitations of our humanity is how we view time.

We remember the past, of course, and we worry about the future, but mostly we focus on the little block of time that is right now.

We want what we want today, not next week or next month and certainly not next year.

And we want God to operate on our time schedule. If we ask him for something, and we’re pretty sure it’s within his will, why doesn’t he just go ahead and give it to us? And if it’s all the same to him, today would be perfect.

This leads to a lot of hand-wringing and frustration.

It’s hard for us to remember that even when God intends to do something, he often takes a while to do it.

Remember the Exodus story in the Old Testament? God’s people had been in Egypt for about 400 years when he finally decided it was time for them to possess the land he had promised Abraham.

But even then, when the time was right, he took a lot of it. Years and years of it.

He sent Moses to Egypt with instructions to ask Pharaoh to let the people go.

Moses apparently thought it was going to be just that easy . . . that he was going to march into Pharaoh’s palace, make the request, and he and the people would be on their way.

It didn’t exactly happen quite like that.

Pharaoh flatly denied the request, then punished the Israelites by making their already miserable lives even more unbearable.

Here’s Moses’ response: “He turned to the LORD and said, ‘O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all’” (Exodus 5:22-23).

That won’t be the last time Moses questions God.

And most of us have been in his sandals, haven’t we?

Job loss? Cancer? Infertility?

Doubts? Faith struggles? Stress and worry?

Why does God so often put suffering between us and where we want to be? Not just that, but why does he wait so long to take us where he wants us to be?

There’s no simple answer to those questions, and certainly not in a short devotional.

But what Moses and the people had to learn was that God accomplishes his purposes according to his own schedule and according to what he knows to be best.

Understanding that won’t make the struggles go away, but perhaps it’ll help us draw nearer to God when they come.

Moses, with all his faults and doubts, did what we all need to do:

“Then [he] turned to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord, . . .”

If you’re a Christian, God hasn’t promised you an easy trip to the promised land.

But he has promised you he’ll take you there . . . on hisroad, in his time.

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