Patience is a virtue that we rarely get to practice in modern-day life. The world is speeding up, and we are being swept along with it. And thanks to this obsession with efficiency and speed, we rarely have to wait for things.
And when we do, we can become easily frustrated.
Yet, the story of the Bible, in stark contrast to the culture we’re part of, does not happen quickly. From the promise given to Abraham that took generations to fulfil; to the Israelites waiting in the desert for the Promised Land; to the prophecies of Jesus proclaimed hundreds of years before his birth.
So often in our faith, and in our prayers, we expect God’s answers to fit with our human timeframe.
But over and over again, the Bible shows us that God’s timing is not like ours.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what god has done from beginning to end.”
When we pray, we’re talking to the creator of the universe, who not only exists outside of space and time, but actually invented both.
And when our prayers aren’t answered immediately, it doesn’t mean God is absent from our world, or that spiritual warfare is preventing us from seeing breakthrough.
So often, we quickly jump to this conclusion, forgetting that in these situations, God might be teaching us how to be patient; or how to be resilient; or how to trust Him more.
God is always present in our world, and has been from the very beginning – dwelling with His people throughout generations.
Yet simultaneously, God is outside of human time, and sees the eternal picture in a way that we cannot.
So when we pray, we are faced with a challenge: to begin to understand the eternal timing of an eternal God. Which means that we need to surrender all of our priorities – and our human timeframes – to Him.
This means accepting that we are not in control, but that God is.
“…do not forget this one thing: with the lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
1 Peter 3: 8-9
As we begin to embrace the eternal timing of God, we are given freedom to slow down to His timing, rather than the world’s. We are liberated from the common narrative that faster is better.
God’s timing is better.
And when we embrace the slowness of God, we are embracing the part we have to play in God’s eternal story; a story that began in Genesis, and continues today.
We are able to be the children of God we have been created to be. Able to pay attention to the people around us, seeing them as God does. Able to wait in God’s presence long enough so that we hear what the Spirit wants to say to us.
This is a challenge for the world that we live in. Yet, by slowing down and embracing God’s timing, we are able to truly understand more of His power and wisdom.