God is boundless. He sees neither small, large, fast, slow, far nor near. His timing is always perfect. He doles out miracles as simply as snowflakes and His love knows no limits. The bible is clear when it explains that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. It is only us, in our finite minds that define how God should be or act, when He should respond and how it should look. It is in this that we miss the opportunity to be in awe of His Sovereignty. Facing a situation we decide in our human minds what the outcome should be and by when it needs to occur. We are all that limit what God can do for us, in us, through us.
God moves when God wants to move. He knows when and what is best for us. As a Father who treasures, loves and adores us He acts, He answers, He nudges our world when He knows is best. More to the point, God moves when it is most to His glory. God moves by our faith not by our desperation.
King Darius issued a decree throughout his kingdom that no one could pray to any other god for thirty days. Punishment for violating the royal decree was being thrown into the lion's den to certain death. Daniel had risen to a place of esteem in King Darius' palace but every day in his own home he bowed before the Lord and prayed to Him in thanks asking for His help. In time Daniel is discovered and reported to the king. Though it distresses King Darius he orders Daniel thrown into the lion's den, has the door covered with a stone and on the stone seals the door with his own signet ring "so that Daniel's situation might not be changed". The next morning he returns to check on Daniel hoping against hope that he has somehow survived the night with the lions. He calls out and is overjoyed to hear Daniel reply that he has indeed survived the night saying "my God sent His angel and he closed the mouths of the lions and they have not hurt me". Daniel is released and "no wound is found on him because he had trusted in his God" and King Darius commands that the Living God be served for He endures forever and has saved Daniel from the lions. (Daniel Chapter 6)
Daniel never lost faith. He believed in His God. He believed that his faith in Him was the only thing that could save him. Could God have saved Daniel from ever even being thrown into the lion's den? Of course. Would it have been as glorious? No. Would it have inspired a mighty and vain king to decree that an entire kingdom was to bow low before and lift up the name of the one true God? Maybe. Did the miracle of Daniel's safety make for a jaw dropping display of God's might? Yes. Was He most glorified in the edge of your seat out come? Absolutely. God knew Daniel was safe. Daniel knew His God would deliver Him. Obstacle + Faith = God glorified
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced a similar opportunity. King Nebuchadnezzar decreed that all must fall and worship a golden statue he had built. They refused and were summoned before the king. He told them that they must worship his gods and fall before this idol in worship or that he would have them thrown into the fiery furnace and asks them "then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?". Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego tell him that they do not even need to defend themselves to him in this matter and that the God they serve is able to deliver them and that even if He did not they will not worship another god. King Nebuchadnezzar is furious and orders the furnace heated seven times hotter than normal. He then has the three of them bound tightly together by his strongest soldier. The furnace is now so hot that just the wave of heat from it instantly kills the soldiers who take Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to the furnace. The three bound men are thrown in and as the angry king looks on he is shocked to see four men walking around inside the furnace. King Nebuchadnezzar calls them out of the furnace and all of his court in is in amazement that these men have survived and there is not even the slightest scent of fire or smoke on them or their clothing. It is then decreed that no one can say anything of dishonor about the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego "for no other god can save in this way". (Daniel Chapter 3)
Again, God could have stepped in at any time and have prevented them from being thrown into the fire. But is it not awe inspiring that they escaped not burned, singed, or even smelling like smoke? That is poetry. That is glory. That is God.
In both these stories someone else said these men must turn away from the one true God. In each story these men held their faith above all else. Both times the men are cast into situations of certain, inescapable death. Both times they escape, aided by God's angel, without a mark on them. Both times all that is certain and inescapable is the glory of God.
I would never refer to God as a last minute God, though He seems to show off in the home stretch. There are moments when the answer to a prayer appears immediately. But when God longs to stretch us, when He demands our whole heart in faith, when He is itching to show off on our behalf, typically it appears to us as a last minute save. Like He swoops in with a mere minute to spare and saves the day for us, then wiping away our tears He lifts us up on His mighty shoulders and parades us around in His moment of victory. We serve a jealous God. Our role is to be in relationship with Him and allow our lives to bring Him glory. The only way we can do either is through faith. Radical, blood pumping, down to the wire knowing He is on your side faith. Remember God does not operate in our concept of time. There is no last minute, no cutoff date, no expiration on His might. He will move. He will revel in our faith. He will be glorified.