When God is Too Late

By Erica Mbasan

I spent a lot of time thinking that I somehow missed something, because I was single longer than all of my family and friends. I had a failed engagement and I lived in such an obscure place, I thought that it was too late for me. I was looking at others, comparing myself, when I should have trusted God that His plans for me are unique and beautiful.

Have you ever thought that you must have missed the bus? Maybe all of your friends were married and you were “left behind.” Maybe children come easily for some of your loved ones while you and your spouse have cried, struggled, and lost hope over the years. Maybe your prodigal child seems like they will never come back to the Lord, and you feel like there is no more hope. Maybe you expected more fruit on the mission field, or quicker language skills, or stronger disciples.

Maybe, just maybe, we have at some point in our lives (or multiple times), wondered why God was ignoring our prayers or taking too long in His purposes.

We thought God would act, we thought He would swoop in and intervene; but time went by and we saw no answer. Sometimes years or decades pass and we think God has forgotten about us; or maybe we heard Him wrong; or we have done something wrong to mess up His plans.

We don’t understand God’s ways or His timing. 

Sometimes we think we do, and then we are left disappointed, feeling abandoned. That is how Abraham must have felt (you can read his story in Genesis chapters 12-25.). God gave him a promise that he was going to be the Father of a great nation, and even of many nations. His wife was going to give birth to a son. The problem? They were both way too old. His wife Sarah was barren. Everything pointed to God being too late. After God made the promise, years went by. They thought they should “help” God fulfill His promises and ended up making a mess. They lost sight and they lost hope. (It NEVER works out well when we try to help God fulfill His promises.)

Jesus had a friend named Lazarus. When Lazarus was deathly ill, Jesus delayed in coming to visit his friend. Lazarus died, and his sister Martha basically told Jesus: God, You’re too late. You should have come sooner. Now there’s no hope.

Over and over we see this in the Word of God. God’s people get tired of waiting, thinking God was too late. In the case of Abraham, God would fulfill His promise and show His sovereign power. In the case of Lazarus as well, God would show His power over life and death and would resurrect his friend from the grave.

Time and again, God is faithful

…just not always in the way, or in the timing, that we expect. God’s plans are different from ours. Our expectations are sometimes smaller than what God actually desires to do in our lives. He allows us to go through times of waiting in order to develop our faith and prepare us for what’s ahead.

Don’t worry, He hears your prayers. He hasn’t forgotten about you. He has a bigger plan than you know.

He is not always going to give us what we want, but He will give us what is best. He is our Heavenly Father who knows what we need before we ask Him.

Keep trusting in Him. He is never late.


In what ways has God kept you waiting?

How has God used times of waiting to strengthen and prepare you for what was ahead?


Erica Mbasan has served as a missionary in Northern Uganda for over ten years. In 2014, she married a wonderful Ugandan man. Together they serve the Lord and the people through discipleship, literacy training and practical assistance. In her “free” time, Erica maintains a blog and has written several books.

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A Life Overseas is a collective blog centered around the realities, ethics, spiritual struggles, and strategies of living overseas. Elizabeth Trotter is the editor-in-chief.

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