But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!
Last week I realized every conversation I had with someone from a church that had called wanting to talk to me about a problem in their church centered around the topic of time. Phrases like “we are running out of time,” “we don’t have all of the time in the world,” “this is taking too much time” or “this seems like it’s a complete waste of time” were their frustrated variations on the theme.
I wonder why it is, especially in the North American, church that we are so obsessed with time and our lack of control over it. We get irritated, impatient, infuriated, and sometimes even downright irate when we must wait to see how things unfold, not in our timing, but God’s timing. Oh yes, we give lip service to God’s time, but I am not sure we understand it or believe in it.
It seems we only believe in God’s timing AFTER things have worked out for the good, AFTER we can see how things fell into place, and AFTER we have experienced an outcome better than we could have imagined. It is in the BEFORE and the DURING that we struggle with believing, trusting, and knowing all things are in God’s hands and God’s control and God’s providence.
I often think the straining, pushing, fretting, worrying, agonizing, complaining, and stressing over the things that are not in our control is not only exhausting, but also insulting to the One who gave us life and breath and continues to labor on our behalf to plan, design and create a life filled with the promises of protection and love.
The truth is as the prophet Habakkuk says, the things we plan “won’t happen right away.” But “slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.” And remember, “If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient.” So, take a deep breath. Trust, believe, and wait to receive the blessings God has in store for you.
Rev. Shana Johnson, ISC Conference Minister