Not too long ago, our family was recently blessed with a new addition, the first of this generation. It's been an exciting time for everyone as we've delighted in our new shinning star as well as become suddenly familiar with new roles like "grandmother” and "uncle,” figuring out what those mean in our family. In the midst of so many new things, we've also become accustomed with a concept known as "baby time.” This is the extra padding of time that needs to be accounted for whenever our little star is going to be involved in something. Want to meet for a quick cup of coffee? What used to be a quick 10 minute drive is lucky to be done in about 40 baby time minutes of pre-changing, feeding, and organization. Trying to plan out when to meet for dinner – better bump that reservation up another hour!
Nobody minds, being a bit more deliberate is a small price to pay for such a blessing. It's normal, every family has to get used to this kind of change. So if we can adapt to baby time fairly easily, why do we seem to have such difficulty adapting to God's time?
Humans, by nature are impatient. When we want something, we want it right now, or at the very least we want to know how soon it's going to be coming. This can be something as routine as dinner, as trivial as a new episode of a favourite TV show, or even as serious as the questions and prayers we ask God. No matter the context, we sit on pins and needles waiting for the results.
But of course, God doesn't act according to our timetable. God works on his own schedule which is in a scale unimaginable to us mortals. You have to remember, He is omniscient and all knowing, existing in all times at once. To Him, a year of time could be like the blink of an eye, a fleeting flutter of barely noticed movement, while a single moment could be stretched to an infinity. So while we know God always answers prayer, we also have to recognize that He rarely does so according to our convenience. And this isn't always easy. If we get impatient waiting for the morning coffee to brew, how much more nervous are we going to get when waiting for an answer to prayer?
We have to learn to wait on God. Not just as an act of patience and humility (although that should definitely part of it) but also as an expression of faith.
When you really think on it, waiting on God should be a source of strength and security, not nervous agitation. When we wait patiently on God, we're not just being respectful, we are demonstrating our trust in Him. It recognizes that our mortal worries and insecurities are nothing in the face of His divine grace and that all things can be left with Him. In this way, waiting on God should be restful and replenishing, we know we can leave our concerns in His hands, not frustrating and exasperating (as it too often feels).
I'm reminded of the story of Jesus and the disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee. When a storm rises on the winds and the churning waters threaten to claim their small boat, the disciples begin to panic. They fret and worry and plead in the face of the coming storm. But Jesus wasn't worried, He was sleeping. Jesus could rest in the middle of a storm because He could wait. He was totally assured in the protection of His Father, so there was no need to panic. When the disciples wake him, Jesus calms the waves but He also chides them, asking the group "where is your faith?” This is something we should remind ourselves when facing our own personal storms.
When we find ourselves waiting on an answer to prayer, we should use it as a chance for rest, for assurance and strength. God is always with us and always watching over us. There is no need to rush Him. We can wait. After all, if we can all adjust our schedules to account for a family member, we can also adjust our patience for God.