When I was younger, and I was in a hurry, I learned that the worst thing I could do was rush my dad. He would intentionally make himself late and not care if someone was rushing him. I learned this one Sunday morning when I was in a hurry to get to church, and he was still in the house. I thought I’d alert him to the time by honking the car horn. In retrospect, I realize honking the horn at someone is rude. I also realize that honking the horn early on a Sunday morning might have been rude to neighbors who might have still been asleep. Anyway, I honked at my dad, who was in the house, who I assumed was almost ready to go but dawdling a little bit. Ten minutes later, he came out to the car. I was really aggravated.
I asked him what took so long, and he said, “I put a load of laundry in.” I was even more aggravated. I asked him, “Didn’t you know what time it was?” He said he did. I asked, “Didn’t you hear me honk to let you know we needed to go?” He looked me in the eye and asked me, “Why do you think I put a load of laundry in?” I didn’t say anything. I was dumbfounded. If he knew what time it was, what time we were supposed to leave, and he heard me honking, why would he intentionally take more time and put laundry in? After he started the car, with me just staring at him, he looked over at me and said, “I move at my pace, not yours. I’m your dad. You’re my son. You don’t tell me when to move or how quickly to move.”
I wish I could tell you that I listened to what he said respectfully and introspectively considered his words, but I did not. I was mad, because his actions didn’t make sense to me and didn’t go with what I wanted. So I fumed silently all the way to church. I hadn’t thought about that interaction until recently when I was working on a lesson for youth group. We’ve been talking about slowing down and waiting with God. Sometimes we must slow down and wait on God, because He doesn’t move at the pace we want Him to.
Sometimes His pace seems incredibly quick for us, like when He tells us to do something right now that we are afraid to do or tells us to stop something that we like doing. Share the Gospel with that person. But I’m not ready. Stop dating that person. But I love him/her! Leave your job and follow me. You get the idea. But where we run into the most frustration, fear, and even lack of faith, is when God’s pace is slower than what we desire. When we want answers right now, direction right now, healing right now, everything right now. When we don’t see movement right away, we can easily start to question God. Is He even real? Does He love me? Is He capable?
The truth is that God is sometimes a slow moving God, at least based on our perception. His lack of haste does not necessarily indicate a problem, and it doesn’t mean He’s not actually working on His end. God never promised speedy returns. In fact, He revealed Himself to be slower moving than people might expect over time, both in prophecy and in Jesus. I want to look at the Father’s character through the life of Jesus.
We know that Jesus was born at just the right time. He could have come any time over thousands of years, and many were hoping He would. But He came when He came, because it was the right time in God’s plan. Galatians 4:4 (NLT) says, “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.” We also know that He died at the right time. People sought to kill Him more than once while He was here on earth, but because it wasn’t His time, He didn’t allow it. But then at the right time, He willingly laid down His life and allowed them to take it. Romans 5:6 (NLT) says, “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.”
God has a schedule, which may not match ours, but He is working. He is working His plan for redemption, and His plan for your life. He will not always do what we want, when we want it, or how we want it. We can’t rush Him. We don’t set His schedule. He doesn’t answer to us. Sometimes we must wait on Him, in faith, and see how He works in our lives.
The song below has been an encouragement to me in times of waiting and in times of wondering. Maybe it will encourage you, too. I promise it’s not heavy metal, even if the band normally does that. It’s more like a worship song.