We live in a day where everything seems to happen faster all the time—including shipping and package delivery. It wasn’t that long ago that receiving a package three days after placing an order was considered “expedited” shipping. Then Amazon came along and revolutionized our expectations with free two-day shipping as part of their “Prime” service. Now, it’s not a problem to get same-day delivery on many items if you live in the right place.
All of that explains why Elliot Berinstein’s recent experiences are so surprising.
A doctor in the city of Toronto, Canada, Berinstein was surprised to see a package on his porch when he arrived home after work one day. He didn’t remember ordering anything, and he certainly didn’t remember any purchases from the sender, Well. ca, which is a Canadian health and beauty website.
That was May 6, 2020.
Opening the package, Berinstein found a tube of Brylcreem hair product, which stirred something in his memory. Then he checked the invoice and solved the mystery. The package had originally been fulfilled and mailed through Canada Post on August 1, 2012.
His delivery had taken eight years to arrive!
Berinstein has no explanation for the extreme delay. “I think it was just in a corner somewhere and then someone just decided to mail it,” he said. “I thought it was pretty funny that they just didn’t throw it out or something. . . . I wonder why they sent it out now since they’re pretty far behind on their current packages and stuff.”1
That’s a positive attitude for an eight-year delay. Most of us get irritated when an email takes too long to arrive, let alone a physical package. We like it best when people and companies follow our preferred timelines without any unnecessary waiting.
As Christians, we face similar frustrations when God refuses to follow our timeline in terms of answering our prayers. Indeed, there are few experiences that cause us to question God’s care more than when we bow before Him in prayer, reach out in genuine faith, make our sincere requests known to God, and then we hear—nothing. No answer. No guidance. No response whatsoever.
At least not right away.
Obviously, we like it when God responds to our prayers by saying, “Yes.” It’s always a blessing to receive an answer from our Heavenly Father. Even when God answers our prayers with “No,” we can find peace. We can trust that He knows best and move on.
However, there are other times when God delays answering our prayers for reasons known only to Him. When we receive neither a yes nor a no, we are forced to endure our current circumstances as we wait for God’s response to finally come.
David has given us a good example to follow in such moments.
OUR STRUGGLE WHEN GOD DELAYS
In chapter 1, we explored the circumstances that caused David to write Psalm 13. He had been anointed the future king of Israel as a young man and had achieved national fame by slaying the giant Goliath. But then David spent years languishing in the wilderness as he tried to outwit and outmaneuver Saul and his armies, all the while waiting for God to fulfill His promise.
Even when God answers our prayers with “No,” we can find peace. We can trust that He knows best and move on.
In other words, Psalm 13 was born out of a moment when David felt deeply frustrated with God’s delay. No wonder the first two words of the psalm are “How long?”
Aren’t you grateful for psalms that reveal the deepest thoughts of the writer? God knows what we’re going through, so He is not surprised by our entreaties. He is ready to listen to our prayers in our time of trouble—just as He did for David.
David Jeremiah, God Has Not Forgotten You: He Is with You, Even in Uncertain Times (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2021).
We have just released a new Bible Study on the book, God Has Not Forgotten You.
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking. Answers are provided in the form of quotes from respected authors such as John Piper, Max Lucado and David Jeremiah.
These lessons will save you time as well as provide deep insights from some of the great writers and thinkers from today and generations past. I also include quotes from the same commentaries that your pastor uses in sermon preparation.
Ultimately, the goal is to create conversations that change lives.