What God Puts Up With

“I have held My peace a long time,
I have been still and restrained Myself.
Now I will cry like a woman in labor,
I will pant and gasp at once.
I will lay waste the mountains and hills,
And dry up all their vegetation;
I will make the rivers coastlands,
And I will dry up the pools.
I will bring the blind by a way they did not know;
I will lead them in paths they have not known.
I will make darkness light before them,
And crooked places straight.
These things I will do for them,
And not forsake them.
They shall be turned back,
They shall be greatly ashamed,
Who trust in carved images,
Who say to the molded images,
You are our gods.’
“Hear, you deaf;
And look, you blind, that you may see.
Who is blind but My servant,
Or deaf as My messenger whom I send?
Who is blind as he who is perfect,
And blind as the LORD’s servant?
Seeing many things, but you do not observe;
Opening the ears, but he does not hear.” (Isaiah 42:14-20)

God has feelings too. He is passionate, he is expressive, he is not ashamed to let people see his heart. God can be very patient, he can outwait anyone. For the longest time, it may seem like he isn’t there or that he doesn’t care. But sometimes he is merely restraining himself. Because of his desperate love for his people, he would like to act immediately. But because he is also wise, he waits for the right moment. Like a parent who keeps the wonderful present hidden until Christmas morning, no matter how much the parent would like the child to enjoy it now, so God restrains his excitement and joy. Likewise, a soldier might wish to destroy his enemy this instant, but he holds back squeezing the trigger until the enemy is actually in his sights. Too early, and he will miss.

Israel was God’s servant, designed by him to serve as the world’s priests (Exodus 19:5-6). He had hoped they would lead the world to him. Instead, the world had led Israel astray. God knows what those he loves most need, and he knows when they need it. He can wait until just the right moment, to give just that which is most needed. Sometimes it may seem God is doing nothing, when the reality is that he is very busy indeed.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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