We know that God is perfect in His wisdom, perfect in His program, perfect in His desires for our lives. To use an illustration, we may be praying for an unsaved husband, or an unsaved child. And insofar as we are concerned we are quite convinced that nothing could be more wonderful than to have that unsaved husband or unsaved child saved within five minutes from now, after we begin praying. We really think this is just the most wonderful idea possible, and certainly nothing could be better than that. Now God may have in mind to save that husband or child, or whatever else that we are praying about, but God may have a lot of other plans that have to be worked out first.
For example, He may want that unsaved husband to be, first of all, a real testing program in the life of the wife, so that her faith will be strengthened, so that she will grow to a very high degree first. Or maybe He’s got some other things that He wants to happen in that family’s life before that husband is saved. God may take two years to answer that prayer, or He may take sixty years to answer that prayer. With God, the Bible teaches, a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as a day.
In other words, God does not keep time like we do. God is really outside of time. He is in eternity. The Scripture I quoted, incidentally, is II Peter 3, where the question in view is, “Why is God so slow about coming? Why doesn’t He, with all the wickedness that’s in the world, come in judgment and stop all of this wickedness?” And in II Peter 3:8 God says, “But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
In this context, God is saying that He is very patient with unsaved men, because He doesn’t want to come before everyone who is to be saved has been saved. And so God’s timetable is unrelated to our timetable. We think it has to happen right now, especially when it seems so beneficial to everybody concerned. But God has got a much more wonderful plan in mind, and He is much wiser. He knows what He is going to do with this sad situation that troubles us so much, and how He’s going to make that work for good. He promises in Romans 8:28, that all things work out together for good for those that love Him, who are called according to His promise.
And so the Christian is asked to patiently wait upon the Lord, and the wonder of it all is that every time we become anxious about the question that we’re coming to the Lord with, we can go to Him with it again, and again, and again, so that afresh we can rest in Him.