“God is ever present and amazing as He saves us as Son, walks with us as Spirit and waits for us as Father. He calls us to journey and He is the journey.” -Gary Spear
You know that every author or speaker loves to quote himself! So I quoted myself in support of myself from my bio page. Ha! I know that’s pretty weak but my wife said this was the best thought I’d ever written. I’m hoping that if I put it here again it will remind her just exactly how smart I am.
Now seriously, I’ve been pondering this point for a while now. Thoughts of whether God is an answer or a process have been in my mind for a couple of years now. Before you stop reading or write me off as a blasphemer, let me explain myself.
This is really a question of semantics. Obviously in the eternal scheme of things, God is the answer to all things; from creation to salvation to eternity. So what I want to really deal with is our perception of God and how it’s affected by time.
Anecdotal evidence started me on this journey of thought and perception. I’m old enough now that I know my flaws and I’m beginning to understand them. I know more of my sinful nature than I did a decade ago. I also know more of God’s working in my life. It has seldom been my experience that I pray to God about a particular problem or sin and then God corrects it in what I consider a timely manner. The help from God almost always takes longer than I had wished.
For most of my life, these seeming delays by God were frustrating to me and I watched them frustrate others also. I’d pray and plead for God to move quickly; to correct a health issue in someone or to fix a flaw in me. But God still seemed content to sit back watching. I had almost come to the conclusion that my prayers didn’t work. Mike Mathews says, “We all believe in the power of prayer; we just don’t believe in the power of OUR OWN prayers.” I think Mike is right.
Knowing this is all a problem with my perception, since God is perfect, I began to question how I viewed God. Even though in my mind I knew better, my heart judged my rightness with God by considering the immediacy of answers to my prayers. Then one day I was asking my Dad about a situation with which I had been frustrated for a couple of years. Dad listened to me complain of God taking His sweet time and said, “Relax. Five years is nothing to God.”
It’s still this statement from my Dad that drives my thinking on this subject. I’ve spent my life wanting God to be an immediate answer to all things; yes or no, hurry up! But so often God stretches His answers out over such a wide expanse of time in our earthly thinking that I’ve come to view Him as a process most of the time.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe with all my heart that eternally God is the answer to all. But for those of us stuck in time instead of eternity, it calms my soul to acknowledge that it feels like He’s guiding me through a process more than giving quick answers. Knowing this allows me to enjoy the journey. It allows me to feel less stress toward God by knowing He’s working in the long-term for my best interest. And knowing that God is on my side for eternity and not for time, gives me a glimpse of His love, patience and long-suffering nature towards me.
So take a long view of life and relax even if God seems to be taking His time. He probably is. And it’s for our own good.
Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change. -Saint Peter, from 2 Peter 3, as translated in The Message by Peterson