The timing is as critical as the involvement. You don't just force your way in. Even if you've got the stuff that's needed...even if you hold the piece perfectly shaped to fit the other person's missing part of the puzzle...you can't push it into place. You must not try.
You must do the most difficult thing for compassion to do.
You must wait.
Even if there is rebellion? Even if there's rebellion.
Even if sin is occurring? Yes, often even then.
Even if others are suffering and disillusioned and going through the misery of misunderstanding, heartache, and sleepless nights? Believe it or not, yes.
There are times (not always, but often) when the better part of wisdom restrains us from barging in and trying to make someone accept our help. The time isn't right, so we wait.
Even the Lord waits, as when Isaiah reported to the nation whom the Lord called "rebellious children" (Isaiah 30:1). These people were rife with shame, reproach, unfaithful alliances, oppression, and a ruthless rejection of God's holy Word. Their unwillingness to repent added insult to injury.
But what was Jehovah's response? Hidden away in the first part of verse 18 is the incredible statement: "Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you."
Instead of storming into the dark alleys of Judah, screaming "Repent!" and shining bright lights to expose the filthy litter of their disobedience, the Lord tapped His foot, folded His arms...and waited. Not even the Lord pushed His way in. He waited until the time was right.
Our Lord would love to piece together the shattered fragments of your life. But He is waiting...graciously waiting until the time is right.
Until you are tired of the life you are living...until you see it for what it really is. Until you are weary of coping...of taking charge of your own life...until you realize the mess you are making of it. Until you recognize your need for Him.
God's timing is always on time.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.