Depending on who you talk to, you’ll hear varied opinions on what God is doing in the world today. Is God about to pull the plug on time as we know it? Are the bad guys winning? How do we make the most of our time here on earth? And when God seems slow to act on our behalf, what’s our next step? Is God slow to keep His promises?
Heavy questions. I was reminiscing about a woman named Martha, and this incident prompted my response to one of those questions:
Several years ago I was with a group in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. On a small-scale “Holy Land” tour that same day, we met a woman regaled in biblical garb and walking about in a cool, dark cave.
She introduced herself as the character “Martha,” a keeper of the cave where Jesus was born. She and her retired husband had moved to Eureka Springs, she told us, with nothing but an availability and willingness to serve God. Her voice increased a few decibels with each sentence as she narrated her familiar script.
“Scores of visitors come here each day to hear the story of Jesus. Just think! This same Jesus–God’s own Son-is coming back again for all of us!”
You could have heard a pebble drop in the eerie silence as her final words echoed through the cave. Before I knew what was happening, I opened my mouth and shouted, “Hallelujah!”
A crimson blush crept up my face as a dozen pair of eyes–and Martha’s–stared at me in unison. “Honey,” Martha’s syrupy voice startled me. “Would you lead us in a stanza of “Amazing Grace?” So I did. As we stood hand-in-hand, reluctant to leave, salty tears trickled down our faces.
Jesus is coming back. Is that tomorrow? Next Year? Fifty years away? I’m not sure. Is God slow to keep His promise? No. He alone knows the answers to those questions. So what should we do in the meantime?
Three Things to Do When God Seems Slow to Act
1. Keep Looking In
Psalm 39:23 (NLT) says, Search me O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
“Looking in” doesn’t mean morbid introspection. It means constantly opening our lives to God’s inspection, asking Him to help us live for Him. When we ask, He’ll gladly show us things that need changing. And by His grace, we’ll find the strength to make the changes.
Why is that important? Allowing God to transform us into His image will make us lights in a dark world–and will help us take the next step:
2. Keep Looking Out
No matter where you turn, you’ll find someone who’s looking for the right answers. You’ll see people with needs, those who have lost their way, and people who need what you’ve found. Jesus told us to make disciples. A word of encouragement, a personal testimony, an unselfish deed laced with God’s love–these are simple ways to let others know that God is not slow to act. His promises are true. And He’ll use you to let them know what the love of Jesus looks like.
3. Keep Looking Up
Most important of all, focus your eyes on Jesus. We don’t quit our jobs, sell our homes, and camp out on a mountain waiting for Jesus to return–or to act on our behalf. That’s not faith. And it’s not accomplishing God’s purpose.
I admit there are times when I question my work and my writing. Am I doing enough? Does anyone really need what I write? Am I making any difference? We all have those moments.
But no matter what work God has assigned you, keep showing up faithfully. Your work may change because of health, age, or circumstances. But that’s not the real issue. Follow God and His Word closely. Trust Him daily. Make it your life pursuit to know Him and to make His ways known.
God knows what He’s doing. He’s always had a plan, and nothing surprises Him. He isn’t slow regarding world events, the end of time, or your own life. Keep looking up. He will never disappoint you. Be ready, because He’s always on time!
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9, NIV).
My Personal Prayer for You
God, we are such an impatient people. Teach us what it means to wait on You. As we turn our eyes on Jesus, help us to be faithful daily to watch, to wait, and to keep trusting Your plan, not ours. You are not slow regarding Your promises. We look forward to that day when all of Your children in one great unified chorus will shout “Hallelujah!” to the Name above All Names!
What about you? When God seems slow to act, what do you do?