All day long, I had been blinking back tears as I thought about Bob and how much I missed him. It had been more than six months since he passed away from complications of Parkinson’s disease, but some days the melancholy thoughts and songs just wouldn’t leave my mind. That day, after returning from my errands, I just needed to go down the hall of our condominium to get the mail and hoped that I wouldn’t meet anyone. When I stepped back into our apartment, I could no longer hold back the tears.

As I looked at my small stack of mail, I saw a blue envelope lying on top with my friend Judy’s return address in the corner. It was not my birthday nor was it a special holiday. Instead, it was just a friendship card with “happy fall” in Judy’s handwriting.

I have learned through the years to open cards from Judy carefully, as clippings of articles, confetti, humorous tidbits, photocopies of old hymns, and scripture verses often fall out. That day, there were 22 separate papers that fell out of Judy’s card, and it seemed that every one of them was just what I needed. God knew when I would need it and he prompted Judy to put the envelope in the mail five days earlier out in California. I felt a great sense of being loved—not just by my friend, but by God’s care for me—at just the right time.

There are times when I don’t feel like God is there soon enough. I’m influenced by our modern culture’s expectations of instant fulfillment, and I can be impatient for God to move more quickly. But as I look back on my experiences and my life, I realize that God always brings the answer in time.

One of the hardest things for me to do is to wait. If I think that I know what needs to be done, I’m ready to proceed. I like to get my ducks in a row, and often feel that the longer I have to wait, the more likely that the ducks will all go off in different directions!

Yet I have found that God never wastes the waiting time. It becomes a time when he does something in me that needs to be done. He helps me mature in the waiting time.

We read in Scripture of many who had to wait for God’s promises to come about. Moses had to wait 40 years to take the leadership role God called him to. Joseph had a vision from God but had to wait many years, even languishing in prison, before God fulfilled that vision.

Maybe you feel like God has you “on hold” right now. Ask him what he has for you to learn while you wait and, in the meantime, keep doing what you feel that he’s called you to in the recent past.

I King 8:56 tells us “not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave.” The God we serve is faithful, and he will be on time—just when we need him.