As a pastor, who’s wife is a worship leader, getting out of the house on a Sunday morning with three young girls (ages 5, 3, and 1) is near impossible. If parenting were an olympic sport, getting out of the house on time would be reason enough for a gold medal.
As any parent can attest, what makes the effort so challenging is that our kids have no concept of time – at all. When they’re eating their breakfast and I say to them, “Hurry up. We have to leave in 5 minutes.” I might as well be telling them facts about molecular cell biology. It means nothing to them and they go on playing with their food rather than eating it.
If by some chance we are walking out the door seemingly on time, there’s still no guarantee that we will actually be on time. The distance between our house door and their car seats is literally seven feet, but in those seven feet the number of things to distract them is endless. The piece of chalk left on the garage floor from yesterday afternoon. The open container of bubbles with the enticing wand sitting right beside it. Even leaves that have blown into the garage from the front yard will get more of their attention than I do.
It seems like my repeated Sunday morning refrain is, “Let’s go. Keep moving. Come on. Let’s go. Keep moving. Come on. Let’s go. Keep moving. Come on.” Our time expectations are completely lost on them.
Interestingly enough, the same is true with God. Just like with my kids, my timetable for certain things in life seems to be completely lost on God. There are times when I communicate these expectations to him but it’s as though I’m speaking a language he can’t understand. For some reason, I’m continually surprised by this.
However, as I read the scriptures, I shouldn’t be. God promised Abraham that his wife Sarah would bear a child, but it took 25 years for that promise to come true. God brought Moses into the wilderness for 4 decades before He called him to set His people free from slavery. David had to wait 13 years after he was anointed before he actually sat on the throne as king of Israel. God seems to work on a completely different schedule than I do.
John Ortberg tells the story of being in a new role at a new church where the ministry was large and the pace was fast. Noticing his spiritual health was withering, he called a mentor and friend for some advice. His friend told him one simple thing, “Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
It seems that I’m always in a hurry. Whether it’s getting my kids out the door on a Sunday morning or working through my schedule for the day, I’m always on to the next thing before I’m done with what’s currently in front of me.
But again, God’s never in a hurry. 2 Peter 3v8 Peter tells us, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day.” God’s timetable is completely different from ours.
The drive behind my time expectations is efficiency and productivity. If I allow, these two things will rule my life. I want to get as much done as I can in the shortest amount of time possible. But God isn’t worried about efficient and productivity. He’s more concerned about redemption. 2 Peter 3 continues, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance” (v9).
God is more concerned with the state of my soul than the state of my schedule. When I’m driven by productivity and efficiency, they become my slave master. I readily serve them at the expense of my family, the people on my staff team, or whoever happens to be in front of me.
So in seasons of life when you’re wanting time to move along faster, when you’re hoping that you can get more done, slow down and settle in. Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life. Perhaps the Lord has something to teach you in the slow seasons of life. Be patient and wait on Him.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord (Ps. 27:14).