"The Lord isn’t really slow about his promise, as some people think, No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” 2 Peter 3:8 NLT
When what we call “time” is all over and we enter into the realm of eternity, where eternal destinies are fixed the saved will be in heaven forever and the unsaved in everlasting torment. This is what the Bible teaches and what I believe. In eternity the seeming slowness of God’s working in “time” will make perfect sense.
There will not be one person missing from heaven because they didn’t have enough of an opportunity to repent from going their own way and turn to God’s way of salvation through Jesus Christ. And there will not be one person in hell who had not been given an opportunity to repent. God is fully just, and must punish sin, but is also patient waiting for everyone to repent, to take ahold of His perfect provision of His Son for salvation. This is also true of nations such as ours and what we see happening today.
This partly explains why, to us, from a human perspective, seem to wait for what seems like an “eternity” for some of our most important prayers to be answered for ourselves and others. We have to wait and often lose hope for evil to be reversed, for spiritual blindness to be removed from a loved one or for the scales of justice to ever be balanced. Often, in our human minds, God seems excruciatingly slow to get things done!
Because of that we tend to project upon God a fallen human judgment that assumes He either must not be good (apathetic about evil) or He is not really God (powerless to answer our prayers). We foolishly stand in judgment of Him through our puny human perspective rather admit our limitations to understand and seek to know His perspective, to learn to have a “God’s eye view” of time.
Sometimes the best way to understand the importance of learning something is to think about what would be the disadvantage if we did NOT learn that thing. As Christians we progress little by little in our faith from a worldly self-centered view to one that is more God-centered and focused on the good of others. For example, it may be for the salvation of a child or grandchild, or a lifetime friend or family member who does not know the Lord. Or I may cry out for justice to be done in our nation now ! If I do not learn God’s eternal perspective of time then I will lose heart and give up praying by misinterpreting God’s delay as disinterest. Because His answer may not come “in time” from my perspective, I can wrongly believe my prayers had failed, were unheard or ignored by God.
In the book of Hebrews “Faith’s Hall of Fame” the writer speaks of those who did not see fulfillment of what God had promised them in this earthly lifetime. “All these people died still believing what God promised then, they did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.” (Hebrews 11:13 NLT) These folks who finished strong did not try to force their timetable on God!
A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” If this is true that means when we pray and we must wait a very long time for something to come to pass, we must allow this to cause us to grow a greater awe and wonder of His patience and His dogged pursuit each individual or nation He longs to come back to Him…and NOT cause us to doubt either His desire or ability to answer our prayers.
How do you keep from being discouraged when praying for someone or something that is taking “too long” in your eyes?
Dear Father, as the heavens are above the earth are your ways above our ways. Who are we as your clay pots to judge the Master Potter as you shape our lives and destinies of us and our loved ones. Forgive us for projecting our view of time upon You rather than submit to your eternal perspective. Teach us to acquire a “God’s eye view” of time for my own life, for others and for our beloved country that is presently in crisis.
Written by Jamie Bohnett. Contact the Author: firstname.lastname@example.org