What is “slow” to you?
a) a turtle
b) a snail
c) waiting more than one minute for your computer to turn on
d) waiting more than two seconds for the webpage to load
Our definition of “slow” has reached ridiculous speeds (that seems oxymoronic but anyways…). If you had to wait FOUR minutes for your computer to turn on that’s definitely an eternity. I’m the last of the Gen X’s so I know what it’s like to write a letter, mail it, wait a week for the other person to get it, write a reply, send it back and wait another week for it to arrive. I’m also very familiar with those dial-up modems where it screeches for 30 seconds before you’re connected. Webpage load times were in the vicinity of 10 minutes. BBS’s anyone? And when you played cassete tapes, you actually had to press rewind in order to hear your favorite song again. Or pop the tape out and twirl it backwards with a pen. Not to mention if you’re meeting up with a friend and they haven’t showed up yet, all you could do was spend $0.25 on a pay phone to call their house only to be told they left 15 minutes ago so you have nothing else to do but wait.
We’re in the era of instant gratification now. Instant messaging. Instant potatoes. Instant noodles. Instant face time. Whatever you want at your finger tips, almost whenever you want. This conditioning has affected our faith too….we expect instant answers to prayer. Instant fixes to the discomforts around us. And while God did create the universe at a word, He’s not into answering our whims instantly.
God answers in HIS time. And that happens to be over decades at times.
He promised Abraham a son from which descendants too numerous to count would come from. Abraham waited TWENTY FIVE YEARS for this promised and miraculous son to be born. Two and a half decades! What kind of “wait” am I complaining about? The more I read about God’s timing, the more I see He’s never in a hurry and never late. The time we think is wasted on waiting, He’s using to cultivate strength of character. God has always been more interested in our character than our comfort or convenience. He also makes us wait so that we can see His power. In Abraham’s case, it might’ve been possible for Sarah to conceive as a 60 year old (they did live a lot longer back then) but for her to conceive at 90 and Abraham at 100? That was impossible…their bodies were good as dead. Yet God made it happen so they’d know it was only by His power.
Sometimes, we’re made to wait until it seems too late before God acts. Too often our impatience leads us to take matters into our own hands so we miss out on what God has planned in addition to creating a bit of a mess. Consider how Sarah thought it’d be a good idea to give her handmaid to Abraham to have a child through. The effects of that are still felt today. There are always consequences when we act outside of God’s timing. And then we have to repeat the object lesson so that we can learn to wait properly on His timing.
So, if you’re finding yourself waiting for an answer or waiting for God to come through on something, check that your character is better…not bitter…because of the wait. Have confidence that God is faithful!