Monday, July 22, 2013


Hurry up and wait. Sometimes we’re forced to wait—in a mall for a friend, at a doctor’s office, in a checkout line. When we have too many items on our to-do list, waiting can be frustrating. Perhaps we should view those times as God-given opportunities to pray, to praise Him, to start a conversation with a stranger. We often forget, when we’re in a hurry, that God’s timing is best. Why else did He create a Sabbath rest, and sleep, and seasons of growth?


Instant gratification

You’ve seen it before. “Learn how to speed read.” “For instant relief, take our medicine.” Save time with our quick-and-easy microwaveable meals.”

Indeed, today’s instant answers do have one up on the old solutions. Imagine having to read by candlelight. Imagine farmers of old who plowed their fields with horse and hand plow, sowed their seeds by hand, and harvested their hay with a hand scythe. Imagine a housewife having to scrub her laundry on a washboard or feeding a cook stove with just enough wood to get perfect results.

In some parts of the world, people still use slower methods of living. Perhaps many of them don’t have any knowledge or experience about our speedy way of life. Would they like such a life? A quick-paced lifestyle can be both good and bad. Who wouldn’t want to reach medical help faster than our forefathers?

Yet, speedy living can bring anxiety. Stress is the number one cause of most diseases today.

The instant gratification syndrome reaches its tentacles into every area of our life, including the church. We hear about healings and instant answers to prayer. Not that such wonders don’t occur. God is all-powerful, after all. But when instant answers don’t occur, those on the non-receiving end can become disillusioned about God, doubting His promises or doubting their own faith.

Instant healing is not beyond God’s capability. But He mainly uses slower methods to bring healing or change. We may need to go through suffering—or perhaps a long period of waiting—to produce spiritual growth. That is why God says patience is a fruit of His Spirit. What we see as an instant answer may need to be brought about through a lengthy process—like the farmer who plows his field with horse and hand plow rather than with a fast, noisy, yet efficient machine.

Certain situations we can’t change. For instance, losing a loved one through death or perhaps being injured by accident. At such times, we wish that God would change our situation, giving us immediate relief. What we probably need, however, is to grow steadfast in our faith by trusting that He will graciously strengthen us one day at a time. “Be … fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer ….” (Romans 12:10-11)

Lord, help us to keep from looking for easy, quick answers. Help us, rather, to wait in faith for Your answers to our prayers. May we patiently and joyfully accept them in Your perfect time. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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