Have you noticed the number of times the Lord waits to act when people are distressed and looking for a speedy deliverance? Think of the plagues of Egypt (Exodus 5-13) when one plague could have sufficed and Pharaoh capitulated, but it took ten plagues to glorify God exceedingly. One circuit might have sufficed for the collapse of Jericho’s walls but God said circumnavigate them seven times! Then there was Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:21-43). Christ could have healed her immediately at a distance as he did with the centurion’s servant, but he waited till she had died and then raised her with his actual words in Aramaic recorded, “Talitha cumi.” More glory to his name! Think of Lazarus lying dead for four days (John 11:1-44) that his resurrection from the dead would glorify Christ more than just the immediate healing his sickness. In all these instances, and they could be multiplied many times, God in Christ delays acting immediately for the purpose of getting even more glory for his name. Have you prayers yet unanswered? The reason may well be that, “ And therefore will The Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: For the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.” (Isaiah 30:18). The reason may well be that he delays so as to bring even more glory to his name.
The Prodigal Son might have stayed home and served his father but God had him leave and descend into decadent, profligate living before repenting and returning to his father, a clear picture of the salvation of an elect sinner. God decreed the sinful wayward behaviour, the waiting and the glorious eventual outcome!
For more read below:
Why God Withholds an Answer
“The question is, Why does God not immediately answer our prayers when they are according to his own will?
We cannot answer this question completely by any means. God says through Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8,9). Even if God would explain his ways with us, we would probably not be able to understand, for we are only very little children, and our Father is great and majestic. Not any more than a two-year-old child can understand why he may not play with a butcher knife are we able to understand why God does not always give us what we ask. He is answerable to no one and need not ever justify himself. He does as he pleases, and no man may lift himself up against God: “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” (Rom. 9:20). Instead, humility, awe, and reverence are the most suitable when we are in God’s holy presence.
God never does things arbitrarily. Even if we cannot understand his ways, we may not conclude that what he does is without purpose or plan, that he merely plays games with us and refuses to answer our prayers for arbitrary reasons. Such is never the case. Always God instructs us, and even his withholding of our requests is with good purpose. We may be sure that his reasons are always good. We may, for example, be very ill and, although we desire to submit our will to God’s will concerning the question of our return to health, we have a great struggle with this and find how difficult it is to come to peace with God’s way, if it is his will that we die. And so we earnestly beseech the Lord to give us grace and strength that we may be submissive with joyful and thankful contentment, but we find the struggle goes on and the difficulty of humble submission increases. We may be puzzled and distressed by the fact that God does not answer.
We may struggle here some reasons why the Lord does not immediately answer our prayers.
God has his own time and his own way for everything. Referring back to the parable of the persistent widow, we are taught that God does not immediately avenge his own people, because his full judgement comes upon the wicked only when Christ returns, and that return, while no arbitrary date, must wait the salvation of all the elect (2 Pet. 3:9). So it is also when a young woman or a young man earnestly seeks a life mate. It may very well be God’s purpose to hear this prayer, but that does not mean God has to do this when we want it to be done. God knows all things and what is best for us. The matter of what is best for us includes God’s own time and God’s own way of answering us. At times God answers our prayers far beyond what we even ask or think, and looking back on our lives, we say, Yes, God knew what was best.
Sometimes God withholds his answer for a time because we do not ask in faith. Only by waiting to give us our requests does our Father teach us to ask properly , believing that he will give us what we ask.
Sometimes we ask things of God in a way that suggests the idea that we have every right to what we ask. In fact, our disapproval of God’s failure to hear us can very well be indicative of our notion that we deserve to receive what we ask. Then God may not answer in order to teach us how undeserving we are of the least of his benefits. All we receive is of grace. We never merit anything with him, for even when we have done all that God requires of us, we are still unprofitable servants (Luke 17:10). At such times the Lord seems to consider our requests unwarranted inconveniences for him, so that he may teach us that we deserve nothing from him, and that it is unmerited favour which is the fountain of all blessing.
Then again we do not always appreciate what God gives. To teach us true gratitude for his many gifts, he withholds them from us for a time that we may recognise how precious are the gifts he is pleased to give. So we could go on, but always God’s way of dealing with us is good and right, and we must indeed learn to wait upon him.
Parents may make a will in which they solemnly promise to give their possessions to their children. Though the children may be aware of this will, and though they may fully understand that their parents’ promises are trustworthy, that does not mean that the parents will give them their inheritance immediately, even though the children clamour for it. When they are children, they would foolishly squander the inheritance, and it would be dangerous for them to have it. The promise is as certain as it can be, but the fulfilment of it must wait.”
– Herman Hanko: When You Pray. pp134-135