Bible reading -- Joshua 24 (I won't reprint it all here...it is Joshua's final words to the Israelites that outlines their history from God's perspective. You can read it at http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua%2024&version=31 )
The Israelites had prayed to God for their release from slavery for over 400 years before He brought Moses into the picture. Then, instead of just granting them freedom, they suffered through several plagues, were chased through the Red Sea by Pharaoh's army, and they wandered in the desert for 40 years (well, most of that time was due to their disobedience, but that's another story). Then, once the Promised Land was in sight, they still had to fight and kill those people who were already living there before they could move in!
I wish God's blessings were more instantaneous and required less effort on our part. However, God does things in His timing, and His ways are not our ways. He knows that treats are sweeter when you've had to work hard to receive them. And there are lots of lessons and growth along the way that allow us to accept the blessings and to appreciate them more.
Many senior citizens tell me that they are able to appreciate their grandchildren much more than they appreciated their children at the same age. My in-laws had a sign in their kitchen for a long time that said "Grandchildren are the reward for not killing your kids!" (They have taken that sign down...I hope they haven't had a change of heart). God has set up this world so we will learn through our trials and triumph with Him in the end. I have to remember that during the rough times (and I have to look forward to those grandkids on some days...)