What do I mean by that title? It conjures up a mental picture of some big man (or woman for some of you) glancing anxiously at a watch on his wrist, doesn’t it? But of course the meaning here is metaphorical, God no more has a watch than a wrist to wear it on. So what do I mean?
Sometimes when we pray for a blessing from God in some particular area we are struggling in, and it doesn’t come as soon as we think it should, we grow impatient with God, perhaps even angry. We are expecting God to give us what we think we need on our schedule and our watch is fast. It tells us we need this thing we ask for right now, or maybe in a week if we can’t have it right away. But surely a month is the longest it should take. I’ve been guilty of this many times. How about you?
Sometimes, God does just that for us. Sure, His blessings can rain down as soon as we offer the prayer or get prayed for, like my sister-in-law who was instantly healed of her joint problems when a friend of mine prayed for her at our church. It can and does happen. But more often God’s watch tends to run slower than ours. We pray and pray but nothing seems to change. A week goes by, then a month, then a year, then five years and still our blessing hasn’t come in a way we recognize. We begin to doubt, to lose hope. Has God abandoned us? Not in the slightest.
Some blessings take longer than others, not because they somehow require a more strenuous effort from our all powerful God, but because God has already decided on the best time to give us this blessing we need. In these situations it is God’s love that makes him tarry with our blessing. God knows us all intimately, down to the very last detail, He knows our needs and wants, and He knows when and how His blessings will be most beneficial.
I’ll use myself as an example. I’ve wanted to be married since I was 20-years-old, I’ve wanted it so bad it hurt sometimes. I am now about as old as H.G. Wells was when he first published The Time Machine (if you wish to know his age at that time, I’d suggest a Google search) and still have not managed to tie the knot. I do have a date set now, however, as well as the person I will be getting married to. That blessing has been a long time coming and it’s still not here yet, though it’s certainly within view.
Why didn’t God help me find my future spouse at age 20? Well, He actually did, we just weren’t ready for the level of commitment marriage requires. Looking back at the personal growth we’ve both made in the intervening years, I can say this honestly. We’ve grown as people and we’ve grown as a couple. We’ve gone through many of the hardships a married couple faces and once or twice we almost didn’t make it. We’ve had to learn and relearn what it means to really be a couple a number of times. Now about the only obstacle between us and marriage is finances, but I believe God is already beginning to work for us on that score as well.
My fiancee and I have both been through a lot and have had to put off getting married longer than I would have liked, but these trials and delays were necessary for us to grow as people. If we hadn’t grown together, apart, and then back together again as much as we have, it’s likely we could not have survived being married to each other. Many couples don’t have to deal with these kinds of challenges until they’re already married; for example, my sister married the man who is now her husband after being engaged to him for less than a year. They are still together and have a 6-month old daughter. Their case was different from mine and my fiancee’s, we both have had identity issues to iron out over the years, as well as anger issues, trust issues, and a couple more kinds of issues I’ve forgotten. God treats each case differently, He knows perfectly well what we need and when we need it most.
So as tempting as it is to rail at God when good things don’t come to us exactly when we think they should, it would be better if we could take a deep breath and consider whether God has a good reason for delaying. Is there something else God is trying to grow in us so we might be better prepared to receive the blessing we’re asking of him? Just because some blessings come quickly, doesn’t mean a delay is indicative of refusal. Our God is a good God, perhaps we should learn to trust His timing.