The Step-by-Step God

By Mark D. Roberts

April 19, 2015

“And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so.”

Genesis 1:6-7

Patience is not one of my strengths. Impatience is. Or, I suppose, I might more accurately say impatience is one of my weaknesses. For example, as I write this devotion, my wife, Linda, and I are in the process of moving from Texas to California. If all goes well, we will soon sell our house in Texas so we can buy a house in California. Though, in actuality, things are moving along at a fairly good clip, I can allow my heart to be filled with anxiety. I want our house sold, a house in California bought, and our possessions neatly arrayed in our new home. And I want it today. Yesterday would be even better.

But life rarely happens instantly. In fact, instant things are often less heavenly than things that take a while. Which would you prefer, fast food or a well-cooked, well-served meal? What is better, instant coffee or a slow pour?

The best things in life take time. In fact, this truth is built into creation. I suppose that God could have created the whole universe in one nanosecond. One moment, nothing. The next moment, a completely mature cosmos. But that’s not how God chose to work. Genesis 1 reveals what is confirmed by careful observation of the physical world. God takes time. God chooses process rather than immediate results. God works in a step-by-step manner.

I need this reminder today. Maybe you do too. I need to remember that God usually works incrementally, intentionally, and always wisely. What can feel to me like an undue delay is God’s gracious superintendence of my life and work. So, when you’re feeling impatient or anxious, may God give you the ability to pause, to remember that God is at work, and to trust him with a peaceful heart.


Are you a patient person? If not, why not? If so, what has helped you to be patient? Can you think of times in your life when you wished things had moved more quickly but in retrospect you can see God’s perfect timing? Is there anything you would like to trust God with today?


Gracious God, when I think of how you created all things in a step-by-step manner, I am reminded of my own impatience. There are so many times, Lord, when I want you to move at my pace, not yours. I confess that this is not only sinful but also silly. Do I really think my timing is better than yours? No, not when I step back and reflect. But in the rush of the moment, I can be painfully impatient. Forgive me, Lord.

Help me to trust that your ways are always the best, that your timing is always the best. Help me to see more clearly how you are at work in my life and through me in the lives of others. May I learn to be in synch with you and your ways, patient in my trust, expectant in my hope. Amen.

Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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