The Lord has strange ways. He deals with us like that. He must bring His instruments into oneness with Himself. There is a little phrase in the New Testament which runs like this: “When once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah…” If that word means anything, it means that delay, in a case like that of Abram’s, is not a pleasant thing for a man – not a thing that he would choose for himself. It would at least imply that if the Lord could have His way, He would perfect His purpose at once. Long-suffering, forbearance, patience, endurance – these things on God’s part are not the things He would choose in carrying out His purposes, seeing all the suffering and the distress and the pain that there is. But He suffered… and suffered long, and His instruments must come into oneness with Him – oneness with His heart.
The point is that it lifts this thing on to a certain level. It is not that the Lord is just dealing with you and with me like a schoolmaster, trying to get something in us. It may be the Lord wants moral qualities developed in us – patience, long-suffering, and so on; there is no doubt that is true, but it is not just that. The Lord is saying, “I am not going to do this until you show signs of certain qualities.” The Lord is lifting us right up on to the same level as Himself, bringing us into actual oneness with Himself, so that we have the same feeling toward others and toward the situation – toward the need that He has.
I believe that when the Lord can get a corporate cry in His Church which is His own cry, then His time has come. The Lord is not just waiting for a time. There is something bound up with that time, and He is seeking to produce in the heart of His instrument that which is in His own heart, so that it cries one cry with Him. The Church has to cry and it has to cry God’s cry… and that one cry is not in the Church. There are many voices – conflicting voices; and by the agony of delay, and the agony of the growing impossibility of the situation, and the agony of the need for that which is of God as over against all this other, the Church will be brought to cry that cry. At midnight there shall be a cry! Now that is oneness with God in His time.