For this reason the Lord is ready to show you mercy; he sits on his throne, ready to have compassion on you. Indeed, the Lord is a just God; all who wait for him in faith will be blessed .— Isa. 30:18
We hear a great deal about waiting on God. There is, however, another side. When we wait on God, He is waiting till we are ready; when we wait for God, we are waiting till He is ready.
There are some people who say, and many more who believe, that as soon as we meet all the conditions, God will answer our prayers. They say that God lives in an eternal now; with Him there is no past nor future; and that if we could fulfill all that He requires in the way of obedience to His will, immediately our needs would be supplied, our desires fulfilled, our prayers answered.
There is much truth in this belief, and yet it expresses only one side of the truth. While God lives in an eternal now, yet He works out His purposes in time. A petition presented before God is like a seed dropped in the ground. Forces above and beyond our control must work upon it, till the true fruition of the answer is given.
— G.P. Pardington, "The Still Small Voice," quoted in Streams in the Desert.
Note: Pardington goes on to talk about the ways of God in delay. Suffice to say this: Delay is not inconsequential or "almost providential," as one has put it; delay is part of the miracle-answer of prayer, in the great heart of our Abba Father-God, a God of Holy Love who MUST give us the best, and so will make us the best, conformed to the image of the Son, in the delay, as well as in the answer. He is making eternal children, fit for forever, as well as highly shaped and tuned for eternal life in the now: the kingdom of God in our midst, in abundant, life-giving life.