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Why Is God Waiting?

In the story of the exodus, we see the incontrovertible evidence that God will act decisively and powerfully in the defense of His people. From using faithful individuals like Shiphrah and Puah to bringing down supernatural plagues on Egypt, God proves that He is able and willing to intervene in human history. The question many ask though is, if God can and will act, why does He choose to act so rarely?

The hardships of the Israelites in Egypt shouldn’t be minimized. They were treated brutally by the Egyptians, and I have no doubt that God’s heart ached watching His people suffer. Yet they are hardly the only example of unthinkable suffering that God has witnessed. So why did God decide to intervene to prompt the exodus but not get involved in the countless other occasions of human suffering? If God can act, why doesn’t He?

If we wonder that, we wouldn’t be the first. Job begs God for an answer. Even many of the Israelites living in that time probably asked the same question. Imagine the mother who was ordered to drown her own child in the Nile. Surely she demanded an answer from God: “Why didn’t you act sooner?”

But Exodus says that God remembered His people. He saw the stomach-wrenching suffering they endured. He heard their cries and their prayers. And when the right time came, God acted. I can’t pretend to know why the “right time” was eighty years into the life of Moses, but that’s when it was.

God led His people out of Egypt and eventually into the Promised Land, but we have a whole Old Testament that shows they still faced plenty of hardships. Sometimes God acted and sometimes He remained silent in the face of those injustices, but His people were always looking forward, because while injustice was all around them, they knew the next “right time” was coming and God would act again. They looked forward to a time when a new kingdom would be established and peace and righteousness reigned.

Today that kingdom is here! Jesus has come! And yet we’re still waiting. We still look around and see injustice. And many of us still wonder, “When is God going to act?”

But don’t lose hope. The “right time” is coming.

The Book of Exodus teaches us God is able and willing to act powerfully to deliver His people. We are promised that Jesus will descend from Heaven with a shout, and we will rise to be with Him, and that can’t happen soon enough. But for today, trust that God knows the right time.

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