Is God Slow?
SOMETIMES people feel that conditions are so bad that they cannot get much worse. They see dangers on every hand that take the joy out of living. Often we hear the remark, ‘Why doesn’t God do something?’ or, ‘If God is ever going to do something, why doesn’t he do it now?’
Jehovah’s witnesses have been trying to reach everyone with the good news they have found in the Bible that God’s time to act is soon, yes, during the lifetime of this generation now living. (Matt. 24:34) Many persons listen with keen interest. In just the past three years, almost a half million persons have joined them in bringing this good news to nearly every person in the nations called Christendom. And a great proclamation has been made in other lands all over the earth.
But there are many who doubt early action on the part of God. They do not rely on the promise of his kingdom so frequently spoken of in the Bible. They are impatient with God, unwilling to recognize that he has a timetable for carrying out his works. They count him slow.
Yet, at the same time, some of these very persons continue to support and vote for certain men in governmental offices. They continue to have faith in the promises politicians make. They are very patient with this system of things and willing to wait for years. They sometimes remark that it may take generations for man’s efforts in government, education, ecological development, and so forth, to solve all the problems. When the men in office fail to bring in a new and better order, they elect new ones, hoping that these men will somehow start things on the right road.
When such persons are told that God is the Sovereign and that righteous government can come only by the direct exercise of that sovereignty through his Messianic kingdom, some may answer, ‘God works through men; he has left men to work out a better world for themselves.’ But that is not what the Bible says. It speaks of divine intervention in the affairs of men, to establish an enduring government from a heavenly source.—Dan. 2:44.
How can persons who reject what God says expect God to help them? He is not responsible for their form of government nor for the actions of the men they put in office. They have heard God’s promise of deliverance of mankind through his kingdom, but they have ignored it in favor of man-rule. Some even go so far as to oppose the proclamation of God’s promise. The Bible describes their thinking: “Because sentence against a bad work has not been executed speedily, that is why the heart of the sons of men has become fully set in them to do bad.”—Eccl. 8:11.
NOT SLOWNESS, BUT PATIENCE
Nevertheless, God is not slow. The apostle Peter wrote: “Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9) He has set his deliverance of mankind as due to occur in this generation. (Luke 21:32) God, with all power in heaven and earth, is in no necessity to make promises he cannot fulfill. One of the apostles of Jesus Christ said, ‘God cannot lie.’ And the prophet Isaiah wrote: “Trust in Jehovah, you people, for all times, for in Jah Jehovah is the Rock of times indefinite.”—Titus 1:2; Isa. 26:4.
If we realize that man-rule is not the solution for mankind’s problems, and instead look to God, we will appreciate from investigating his Word of truth that his apparent ‘delay’ is not slowness. The apostle goes on to say: “Furthermore, consider the patience of our Lord as salvation.” (2 Pet. 3:15) And, today, many are taking up the way of salvation. They are taking advantage of the time to learn what God has arranged for mankind, forsaking trust in this failing system of things. They realize that it is not without purpose that God’s Word warns, ‘Buy out the opportune time for yourselves, because the days are wicked.’ (Eph. 5:16) They know that when God’s patience runs out, the destruction of this system of things will not move slowly. It will begin as though a steel trap had snapped shut.
Therefore, rather than to blame God as being slow, is it not far better to check ourselves, to see whether we are living in a manner worthy of a new order? Is it not better to take the advice of Jesus Christ? After giving his hearers a foreview of the end of unfaithful Jerusalem and, later, the end of this present system of things, he said: “But pay attention to yourselves that your hearts never become weighed down with overeating and heavy drinking and anxieties of life, and suddenly that day be instantly upon you as a snare. For it will come in upon all those dwelling upon the face of all the earth. Keep awake, then, all the time making supplication that you may succeed in escaping all these things that are destined to occur, and in standing before the Son of man.”—Luke 21:34-36.