The place was going nuts – drunk college students running around with nothing but Confederate flags on; a huge plume of marijuana smoke lingering in the air; the uncomfortable feeling that something unexpected was about to happen.
And then without any fanfare an unlit figure slowly meandered on the stage, pulled up a stool, strummed his acoustic guitar, blew into his harmonica and jumped right into the first song…
Jesus, I saw you
Walkin’ on the river
I don’t believe you.
You can’t deliver right away
I wonder why.
That question disturbed me for years, I think, because it resonated so much with my life experience.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered why Jesus wasn’t delivering, right away, on a very honest, sincere, important prayer I prayed.
It wasn’t until recently that I finally wrestled that question to the ground and wrote about it in Second Guessing God. Here’s what I wrote…
We become impatient because we want our situation changed right now. We want a miracle—if not today, definitely this week. We’ll wait, but it better not take a month!
The Bible is clear about this: God often does his best work over long periods of time. In fact, the Bible portrays God as one who often does his best work over a few generations, not a few hours. That’s probably why throughout the first part of the Bible, as if to drive home this point early, God is often referred to as “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
The book of Acts, for example, tells us the history of the birth and growth of the early church. It covers a span of more than thirty years. You would think that what was going on in those days was so important that God would be passing out miracles like a politician handing out campaign flyers. But he didn’t. What strikes me as I peruse Acts is not how many miracle stories I read, but how few.
Waiting on God’s timing can be frustrating, especially when we’re in the hospital lobby wondering about a loved one in surgery or we’re thumbing through the want ads. But God can see the big picture; therefore, he isn’t as concerned as we are with the short-term fix. Once we learn to accept this, we can develop a mystical kind of patience that asserts, “I can’t understand why this is happening, but I’m sure there’s a reason for it. I may find out tomorrow. I may find out twenty-five years from now. Or I may not find out until I die. But one day this will all make sense. Until it does, I’m going to relax and give this problem to God.
Why do you think Jesus doesn’t “deliver right away?”