I am a full-fledged member of the instant generation. I want what I want, and I want it RIGHT NOW! I want to watch television shows on demand. What do you mean I have to wait until next summer for new episodes? I want them now. When I send you a text message, I expect you to get back to me immediately. Ain’t nobody got time to wait around ten of fifteen minutes! I need you to respond NOW! When I select “Two Day Shipping” on Amazon, I expect that package to arrive at my front door in exactly two days. I don’t want any excuses about shipping plant fires, UPS workers strikes, or snakes on a plane. I want immediate results. And if you have the guts to post a video on YouTube, it better play right away without any buffering. Otherwise I’m out. I’ve got other, really important videos to watch, mainly of people putting Mentos into bottles of Coke.
I have been trained, for good or for bad, to expect immediate results.
The only problem is that God doesn’t usually do immediate. He doesn’t usually do fast. He doesn’t do overnight shipping. He works according to his timeline, not mine. And the wonderful reality is that God is usually doing a thousand things when it looks like he’s doing absolutely nothing.
While Joseph sat in prison, it appeared that God wasn’t doing anything. He probably felt forgotten, abandoned, discarded. He probably felt useless. Meanwhile, God was doing a thousand things as Joseph sat idly in prison. God was preparing Joseph’s brother’s for reconciliation, Pharaoh to receive Joseph as from God, and the entire nation of Egypt to depend on Joseph as a wise steward of food.
While David was a fugitive, on the run from Saul, it appeared that God wasn’t doing anything. David probably felt like his best years were being wasted. Like his talent was going to waste. Meanwhile, God was doing a thousand things while David hid in caves and pretended to be insane. God was working on David himself, preparing David to be a man after his own heart. He was teaching David to trust him and to wait on him. And he was preparing Israel to receive their divinely appointed king.
While John Bunyan sat in prison, it appeared that God wasn’t doing anything. Bunyan probably felt like his ministry was being hampered and hamstrung. He was a gospel preacher who wasn’t able to preach the gospel. Meanwhile, God was doing a thousand things while Bunyan languished in his jail cell. God was preparing Bunyan to write the book that would be read by millions and would inspire millions to love the Lord. Bunyan’s prison cell was the womb for Pilgrim’s Progress.
Just because I can’t see God working doesn’t mean he isn’t working. It may seem like my prayers for my children are pointless, because I can’t see anything happening. But my prayers aren’t useless. God is working, and someday I will see the glorious fruit of those prayers. It may seem like my prayers for spiritual growth are futile, because I can’t see much spiritual growth. But my prayers aren’t futile. God is working, and someday I’ll see the fruit of my prayers. It may seem like my prayers for reconciliation with a friend are wasted, because I can’t see anything happening. But my prayers aren’t wasted. God is working, and someday I’ll see the delightful fruit of my prayers.
Just because I can’t see God working doesn’t mean God isn’t working. God is doing a thousand things when it seems like he’s doing nothing.