2 Peter 3:9  “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise.”  Let us never forget that!

            Recent events in the Middle East had me thinking about the time Douglas and I spent there.  On the compound where we lived, every morning began with a call for prayer from the mullah at the mosque.  Today, for me, every morning begins with a prayer for Israel and remembering the promises God made to Abraham about the world being blessed through him.

            When my family moved to Saudi Arabia in 1978, I decided to go to class for Spoken Arabic.  My children had 30 minutes of Arabic every day at the company school, and since we had planned to live there ten years, I thought, “Why not?” 

            Although I struggled with correct pronunciation, I enjoyed the spoken Arabic classes.  After two and a half years, I tried written Arabic, but gave up because it was too difficult for me.

            Like you, in elementary school, I learned about Roman numerals and Arabic numerals.  What I didn’t know was that in Arabia, they use Eastern Arabic numerals while we use Western Arabic. 

            I did learn to count in Arabic, (Wahid, ithnane, thalatha, arba, khamsa, sitta, sabba, thamaniya, tisa, oshara), so I could ask, “What time is it?” and I understood their answers!

            Down town, when I asked  “Kam hatha?”  which meant “How much that?”  I understood the shopkeepers.  I learned to say “Hatha galee!” which meant “That’s too expensive!”  And the bargaining would commence!

            The Arabic language does not use the verb “to be,” which means they do not say “I am” or “You are.”  They just say their word for “I” plus the verb or adjective.  If they’re a man, they say “An.”  If they’re a woman, it’s “Ana.”     

            Adjectives also are masculine or feminine and also change by adding an “a.”  The word for “hungry” is “jo an” in masculine, so a hungry man would say “An joan.”  It’s “jo ana” in feminine.  I can remember that easily because my older sister was named Jo Anna.  So, if I said “Ana Jo Ana,” it meant I’m a hungry girl!

            A masculine friend in Arabic is “sadeeg.”  A friend gave us a cat, so we wanted to give the cat an Arabic name.  We settled on “friend,” but she was a female cat, so we had to add the “a” to it.  Her name became “Sadyga,” and we kept Sadyga until we left for home some eight years later.

            What I really wanted to tell you about, though,  is the first Arabic word I learned when I got there.  It was the word “Inshallah.”

            If I asked my houseboy when he thought he could get the laundry done, he would shrug and say “Inshallah.”  When Douglas asked his secretary when he could finish a letter, he would say “Inshallah.”  We learned that Inshallah could mean three different things. 

            It could mean “now, ” which could be up to a month or more.                

            It could mean “just now,” which could be up to a week.     Or,             It could mean “now now,” which was within the hour.    So, we had to specify which we meant when we asked them to do a job!  Most of the time I wanted it now now!

            I have had several biopsies, and each time, I wanted to know as soon as possible —now now! – –what the results were, but I always had to wait a few days or even a week or more.  It always made me think of “Inshallah.”

            If you listen carefully, you can hear “Allah” at the end of the word.   My instructor said the word “inshallah” literally means “when God wills,” using the Muslim name for God, which is Allah.

            So, like us, they have learned that God does things in His timing, when He wills, and although we make plans and requests, the answers to those prayers can vary from now to just now to now now!  Sometimes God has to discipline us before He can give us what we need, and we may feel like God has forsaken us. 

            Never believe that God’s discipline means that God has abandoned us.  That’s not true.  God has his own timing and we should never get depressed about waiting on the Lord.  He’ll always answer, but in His perfect timing.

            God doesn’t want us to try harder.  He wants us to trust Him deeper!                                             

            Trust Him to open the right doors at the right time.  Pray, then let it go.

            Remember what Peter wrote —” The Lord is not slow in keeping His promises!”

            Thank God for being the source of our strength, for caring for us, even in the darkest places.  Thank God for always hearing the cries of our hearts.  He has given us abundant life. Sometimes we get anxious, and we try to fix things on our own, but we know that our only hope of being restored is found in Him.

            God is trustworthy and faithful.  Often we try to make things happen, but we should always wait for the Lord.  He is the answer, always.  We must surrender all our activities to Him and rely on Him.  He gives His best and He will deliver at the right time, now as He’s done in the past.  He will bless us and Israel as well.                                                


    Joyce Broyles is a retired High School Librarian and resides in Jennings, LA.