Waiting

I tap my foot impatiently in front of the microwave while I wait the 2 minutes and 22 seconds for my water to heat up. Why 2:22? It’s faster than punching in 2:30 of course! It’s a hack and we all love hacks, those tips and tricks that make our lives more efficient, faster and easier.

Have you noticed how badly people drive nowadays? People’s traffic manners have just degraded, myself excluded of course! People roll through stop signs and take advantage of any driver’s inattention by laying on the horn. If someone’s not going fast enough they get passed in the breakdown lane or the turn lane or even on a double yellow line! People just want to get where they’re going. After all, traffic rules are for student drivers or those slow Sunday grandmas who can barely see above the wheel, right? Just hurry up!

But I’m not excluded from this hurry up mood as evidenced by the microwave example above. I find myself in a hurry up mood way too often, even on the weekends. I can even find taking a shower a necessary inconvenience! As a dear friend told me one time, I just wish I could snap my fingers, and BAM! – I’m showered, dressed and ready for what’s really important.

There’s a style of play in football called the hurry up no huddle offense. This style is employed near the end of the game. The offense doesn’t take time to huddle up and discuss strategy. The quarterback calls the play as quickly as possible and chooses plays that will get his team down the field as quickly as possible in order to score. Maybe the hurry up offense is an analogy for my life. Just hurry up! I’m noticing myself wanting to hurry up in writing this post. Just get it done! Hurry up and publish!

We avoid waiting. We look at screens while waiting in line. We bring a book to pass the time in the doctor’s office. We constantly check the tracking information on a package we’re waiting for.

Have you noticed that faster, easier and more efficient has earned a positive moral judgment? We’ve somehow been convinced that it’s morally good to have things be faster and easier. Slower, harder and more cumbersome is therefore morally bad. How did this happen? Where did these moral judgments come from?

The Bible speaks with completely different language. It calls for us to have a completely opposite perspective. For example, we read this in Habakkuk 2:2-3:

“And the Lord answered me: ‘Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits it’s appointed time; it hastens to the end – it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.'”

Habakkuk had hard questions for God and God graciously answered him. But in answering he also gives a warning. He says the timing may seem slow. Can anyone relate to that?

In 2 Peter 3:9 we read this:

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

He says the Lord is not slow as some count slowness. I think the problem is our perception, not God’s supposed inaction. We don’t understand time and how God works in time. It’s our faulty understanding that’s the issue. God told Habakkuk what to do if the vision seemed slow in being fulfilled: he was to wait.

We are also called to wait. But how do we do that, especially in this hurry-up world of ours? And what is waiting anyway? This is what I want to start exploring. Let me know what you think.

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