The God Who Doesn’t Get In A Hurry

Last Friday while photographing in the Red River Gorge National Geological Area I had a chance to visit two of the area’s most popular arches—Princess Arch and Rock Bridge.  The Red River Gorge has numerous arches, more than any other location east of the Mississippi River.  It is a wonderful place to ponder the forces which can impact a landscape such as this.  Over thousands of years wind, rain, and in some cases the flow of creeks cause the erosion that forms the magnificent arches.  The arches we see today are still being shaped by these elements.  Over time these arches will likely cease to exist; they will succumb to the forces of nature while yet other arches form.

It is difficult for me to comprehend the length of time it takes nature to form geologic features like arches, hoodoos, natural bridges and buttes.  I just know that it takes a very long time.  We may be used to seeing manmade structures completed in short periods of time but nature tends to work on a much slower scale.  What is true of nature, I have discovered, is also true of God.  Time and time again I have been reminded that God typically works in what we would call “slow motion.”  I pray prayers asking for things that I cannot help but believe are God’s will and expect Him to respond immediately.  At times He does, but more often than not He doesn’t.   I, like most people, find this frustrating but I should not find it surprising.

I have been a serious student of Scripture for many years now.  I know from my studies of the Bible that God has a much different time table than we do.  There are countless examples in the biblical accounts where God seems incredibly slow to act.  For example, the Hebrews held captive in Egypt cry out to God for help but it is quite some time before He sends Moses to be their deliverer.  And apparently people long before me struggled with God’s slowness.  The Psalmist repeatedly asks God “how long” He is going to wait before He does one thing or another.  Job, too, wondered why God was so slow in getting around to answering his questions.

 In 2 Peter 3:8 we read, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”  Peter’s words reveal that the way we experience time contrasts greatly with the way God experiences time.  In today’s world, filled with so many time saving devices, we are used to immediate or quick results in many facets of our life.  That makes it even harder for us to deal with God’s propensity to take His time.  Our attitude tends to be “I want what I want and I want it now.”  The testimony of Scripture seems to indicate that God’s attitude is “I know what you need and I’ll provide for it when the time is right.”

The same Psalmist who frequently asked God “how long” He was going to take to act came to realize that when dealing with the Lord God Almighty we must learn to be patient.  At the conclusion of Psalm 27 he wrote: “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  That’s good advice for all of us for whether He is creating beautiful arches or creating beautiful lives God does not get in a hurry. 

–Chuck

 (Top image: Princess Arch.  Bottom image: Rock Bridge)