Ministry Resources

Stuck at the Stoplight

Author: Nancy A. Stevens

This has got to be the longest stoplight in history!

I waited impatiently at the first of 15 stoplights that I would encounter on my trip. I’ll never make my appointment on time.

Finally, the light changed and the four cars ahead of me quickly accelerated. That’s unusual, I thought. We’re traveling at the speed limit, and we just passed two green lights. But I’ll get stuck at the next light—I always do—and it’s a long one.

I looked in disbelief as I drove through the green light. Because of the delay at the beginning, I had anticipated a frustratingly long trip; however, all of the other stoplights were perfectly synchronized. I arrived at my appointment five minutes early.


This incident reminded me of a Scripture passage that I had read recently. The Lord made wonderful promises to Israel. “The LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor. The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation” (Isaiah 60:20-22, NIV).

The Lord did not tell the people when He would fulfill these promises.

However, He did say, “I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly” (Isaiah 60:22). In other words, God has a specific time planned for the fulfillment of these promises. He is not rushed, but neither is He slow. His timing is very precise. He acts purposefully–not rashly, haphazardly, or whimsically. Once the time arrives, He will swiftly fulfill His promises.

When we read the context of the passage in Isaiah, we realize that the Lord is describing a future time. “Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise. The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory” (60:18-19, ESV).

When God promises us something and we see no sign that He is beginning to fulfill His promise, we may be discouraged and wonder why He does not act on our behalf. Perhaps we feel as if we’re stuck at the first stoplight. We see a very small change in our circumstances and think that if the changes continue at this pace, they’ll take forever!

Don’t base the fulfillment of God’s promise on what is happening at the moment or on the speed of any changes you see.

If He has promised you something that will be fulfilled at a future time, remind yourself that His planning is perfect. He is accomplishing His purposes in your life right now. The future can very suddenly become the present. God can intervene in your situation and dramatically turn things around. What you anticipated would be a long, drawn-out process, He can accomplish in a moment.

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