Have you noticed how often God is late? I think “now” would be a good time, but God thinks later. Later is usually better, but it’s not on my timetable. God has an agenda, and all too often it’s not the same as mine, and that’s my problem.
I’m not alone in this. Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus was dying. Hurry, they urged him. He waited, instead, two days longer. Both sisters accused Jesus, “If you had been here…”; but Jesus had a better plan, “I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe” (see John 11:1-44). Peter observes that the whole world thinks God is late, and scoffs, “Jesus said he would return. Where is he?” But God has a better plan, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (see 2Peter 3:1-9). The writer of Hebrews calls God’s people to be “imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12).
King Saul had little patience, and thus showed less faith. Saul was anxious to fight the Philistines, but Samuel was yet to offer sacrifices to God before the battle. Seven days passed and Samuel, and therefore God, was late. It was time for war, so Saul wrongly offered the sacrifices himself. Then Samuel showed up, and Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart” (1Samuel 13:13-14).
Unless we learn to trust God and wait on his timing, we will never experience his better plan. Being obedient is more important than being on time. Saul failed to learn this, but a couple kings later, a wise King Solomon observed, “God makes everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Not ours.
God, Your ways are not man’s ways. By faith, I follow You. I trust You and I will jump when You call. I will also wait until You say to go. I know if it is according to my strength and my wisdom, then I am in danger of taking credit. Therefore, God, not by my strength, nor my wisdom, but I submit to You my heart and my soul, and I will follow You in faith.
And You get the glory.