Every Saturday evening several millions of viewers sit down to watch another edition of the long-running medical soap "Casualty". As one of them from time to time I am amused by the fact that such complex problems are always solved within 50 minutes or at the most a couple of episodes. Great issues of life and death come so neatly packaged that they simply can't be real! Life just isn't like that.
A couple of decades ago Diane and I felt encouraged by a Bible verse which we took as a personal promise from God to us. It's in 1 Peter 5:10 "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." We took it then as a sign that my dreadful battle with pain would be time limited - and it will be - but there is a catch, an issue with God's timing. It seems so different to ours. We want the whole problem fixed within an hour at the most, but his "little while" may vary in length greatly.
In John 16 the disciples of Jesus had the same problem as I do. They kept asking each other, "What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying." God's timing seems so different to ours. I was just thinking of this the other day when it came to me just how long some of God's dealing with his people Israel were. They were in slavery in Egypt for 400 years. That's the same as from the year 1615AD to today! Think of how much has happened in our country and continent in those 400 years. Then when the people were being led by Moses they were turned away from the borders of the promised land because of their unbelief and wandered in the desert for 40 years - a whole generation! When poor old Joseph was put in prison for something he didn't do, he was probably there for 20 years. Yet even after all that he was able to say that God meant it for his good (Genesis 50:20).