The “Brave New World” of the 21st Century requires a “Brave New Discipleship” strategy.

Why Doesn’t God Move Faster?

Posted on: November 22, 2016



In his book, When God Doesn’t Make Sense, James Dobson has a section entitled, “Four Days Late.” It alludes to the fact that, after having been summoned by Mary and Martha because of the serious illness of Lazarus their brother, when Jesus finally arrived, Lazarus had already been dead for four days. It looked as though Jesus was four days late.

There are a host of other examples in the Scripture in which, from a human perspective, it seems that God is unconcerned about time.

The children of Israel languished in slavery for 400 years! Wouldn’t 300 have been enough? Or 200? Or 100? Why 400?!?

In another example, Abraham was given a promise by God that his descendent would inherit the covenant He gave Abraham. But Abraham didn’t have a descendent, and he was 75 years old when he was given the covenant. It took another 25 years! Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born! Why did God wait so long?!?

Joseph was given a promise from God that he would be a great ruler, but it was another 15 or so years before the promise was fulfilled, and Joseph spent most of that time as a slave!

David was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king over Israel. But instead of having an inauguration ceremony the next day, David spent much of the next 15 years or so of his life dodging Saul, the current king, trying to keep Saul from lopping his head off.

The prophetical books in the Old Testament are filled with promises of a coming Messiah, and yet it was well over a thousand years before some of those promises became true.

In fact, from the last book of the Old Testament until the first book of the New Testament, there is a period of 400 years of silence… silence so deafening that many Israelites began to feel as though God had forgotten them.

Yes, God’s timetable is typically much longer than ours. And when God doesn’t move as quickly in our lives as we think He should, it is easy for us to have the same reaction that Israel did… to fear that God has forgotten about us.

So what can we conclude when God moves so slowly in our lives that our minds begin to fill with doubts and questions and concerns?

There are three things we know about God’s will for us.

  1. God never loses control, so we don’t have to fear that things have gone wrong. (Job 42:2)
  2. God never forgets about us and He will never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5)
  3. God has a plan for our lives, and will unfold that plan as we walk by faith with him. (Ephesians 2:10)

There are at least: Six reasons why God may delay answers to our prayers.

  1. To achieve a greater result:  Jesus said He was glad that He was not there when Lazarus died, because it would encourage greater faith in those who witnessed the results of His delay.
  1. To develop our character and maturity:  David and Joseph, for example, were still teenagers when God gave them their promises, and they were not mature enough to be able to fulfill the role God had planned for them. So God put them through a character-development curriculum designed to equip them for the promises He had given them.
  1. To clarify our requests:  We may be praying so broadly that we would not recognize an answer to prayer when we saw it.
  1. To purify our motives:  James 4:3 says, “You ask and do not have because you ask with wrong motives…” Delaying answers can give us an opportunity to purify our motives, and potentially receive our request.
  1. To bring about greater glory:  God may want to call attention to the fact that it was he who answered, and not just good luck. When our prayers come easily and quickly, we may take them for granted and not give God the credit he deserves.
  1. To build our faith:  The answer to most “why” questions is, “trust.” God wants to make us spiritually stronger by increasing our faith.

It can be a significant challenge when God moves slowly in our lives. It can create significant doubts, questions, and concerns. It can make us feel as though God has forgotten about us, or left us behind for some reason.

When we review the Scriptures and review God’s patterns in working with people in the Bible, we come away with reasons to believe that our fears are not true, and our faith can be stretched to accept that He is still unfolding His good plan in our lives.

The lesson is: Be steadfast! (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Or in other words: Hang in there! God is not finished with you yet. His silence is accomplishing eternally significant purposes.

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