waiting.

In the process of writing my last post, I wondered what it must be like to have a different perception of time than we have.

 

I still wonder that, and I’ve chewed on it for a few days now.

[note: I still don’t get it.]

 

Time’s a funny thing, though – isn’t it?

In the creation account, it says that God created the world in 6 days, and rested on the 7th. People debate whether those were literal 24-hour days, or if it is an extension of the concept that a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. Some people reject the creation story on account of the true age of the earth (science tells us it’s millions or billions of years old while young earthers want us to think it’s only a few thousand. Who knows? God is God – He could have created an old earth only a few thousand years ago. That’s part of the mystery, no?)

 

The creation account puts God’s relationship to time in a unique perspective – it gives us a glimpse of how quickly and expansively God can and does work. If you take it literally, then God created the earth and everything in it in 6 days.

144 hours (it takes me two weeks to work 144 hours, and in that time all I do is make a bunch of coffee and wash a bunch of dishes.)

8,640 minutes (the length of time it takes me to get out of bed 864 times, make 1,728 pots of coffee, approximately 800 trips to the bathroom, etc)

518,400 seconds (the same amount of times I forget to text people back [ie. “just a second!”)

but if God is God, then something tells me that’s not altogether impossible for Him.

 

Still, what are the implications if they’re not actual days, but another unit of time (say, 1,000 years) that got lost in translation?

Part of me says it doesn’t matter. Another says that it’s a slippery slope – if you start explaining away the literacy of the Bible in certain instances, then where do you stop? What’s our litmus test for deciding what’s literal and what’s not? How is the story of Jesus – His life, death, and resurrection – any less metaphorical or symbolic than the creation account?

 

Regardless – the point is that God has some different relationship to time than we seem to. And that makes for a remarkable if sometimes frustrating life with Him, because for God, time is an inextricable part of His work. God is not a microwave God, regardless of how badly we want Him to be – you can’t heal in days or even weeks, you can’t change your habits quickly, you don’t get over your sin nature quickly, you can’t magically understand the Bible in a day. (oh, and news flash: even the things you do understand one day may make zero sense in a few weeks.)

 

No, if we keep up the analogy of God as a cooking instrument, then He seems to be more of a slow cooker God – maybe even set on “warm,” not even “low.” Our waiting is a big part of His work.

Abraham waited for his promised descendant until he was over 90 years old.

The Israelites wandered 40 years in the desert.

When Jericho was taken, it was taken after marching around the city six times.

Hannah waited through years of barrenness (and watching her husband’s other wife and her children get gifts from her husband) to have Samuel.

The world waited 400 years to hear God again, and to receive a Savior (everything that was promised 400 years earlier.)

Jesus waited 30 years to start ministry.

He’s waiting now to come again.

 

Waiting is just a part of it.

 

What’s that mean for us?

It means: don’t give up. Hold fast. It means that what God has promised, God will do in His time. It means that it’s okay for prayers to (seemingly) hit the ceiling for a while – it doesn’t mean that God’s not listening; in fact, often times it means He’s working. It means that often times God’s right next to us in our suffering and our waiting, and we’re so tired that we can’t see it. It means that God is working for a greater, sweeter, truer reality than anything we could accomplish or that could be accomplished for us if the timing were up to us.

It means that God is uprooting things in us that need to be uprooted; He’s revealing things to us that need to change in our hearts before His fruit can come forth.

 

In baseball, the goal is to get on base; but you have to wait for the right pitch to hit. You won’t get on if you’re swinging at bad pitches.

In bread-baking, the dough has to rise before it’s ready to bake. You won’t get good bread if you don’t wait.

Artists have to spend inordinate amounts of time on little details of their work in order to make the whole things beautiful (such as finishing a hat.)

 

To borrow the old cliche – good things are worth the wait; and good things don’t come often without waiting.

[what’s it like?]

I wonder, what must it be like for a thousand years to be like a second, and for a second to be like a thousand years? What must it be like to see the hearts and intentions of every man who ever lived? What must it be like to hear prayers from people, and how do You judge when it’s time to say “yes”? (Because I’ve prayed the same thing 100 times, and seen it come to pass finally on the 101st.)

 

What must it be like to never be wrong? What must it be like to not feel the humiliation of making a mistake? (this is a theological question I’ve struggled with before about the life of Jesus – of all the things He experienced, He was never wrong. Does that make the shame He experienced infinitely worse, or what if there is one aspect of being human that He didn’t experience?0

 

What must it be like to know exactly what the world needs – in fact, You are what the world needs – and withhold that because of the fact that we are free to choose? What’s it like to have some who are perfectly satisfied with a line of thinking that says that evil exists because of free will and others believe You are either cruel or indeed not omnipotent because of the fact that You don’t infringe upon our free will?

 

What’s it like to have created the masterpiece of art we call the Earth and have people who refuse (or are simply unable) to see its intricate design?

 

What’s it like to see people who claim Your name do harm to the world; and to see people who deny Your name do the very good that those who do claim You should be doing? Does it hurt? Are You saddened? Surely You’re not surprised…are You disappointed? Can You be disappointed?

 

What’s it like to see people who’ve known You for years act like they don’t know You at all, and make mistakes that hurt them? What’s it like to watch them suffer and undergo the slow, slow process of healing? What’s it like to hear their prayers for normalcy and restoration, when You know that sometimes it feels like their prayers hit the ceiling? How many times have You been right beside the brokenhearted and they are entirely unaware?

 

What’s it like to have an idea of how the world (that You created) works and to have people say, “I don’t really believe that’s the best way, I’m going to try it this way.” What’s it like to watch us do things You know will cause us pain?

 

What’s it like to watch us get it right?

 

What’s it like for You when You see a wedding? Does it even mean anything to You, or are you rejoicing along side the saints for the union of two people who set out to discover life with You together?

 

What’s it like when You see the birth of a child? Surely You feel a joy even deeper than the parents – whose experience is limited by the capacity of their brains to process joy – when You see another piece of Your handiwork come into the world.

 

(Oh, that reminds me – what’s it like to not know fear? What’s it mean to not worry that things will fail, to know that You’ll get Your way at the end, no matter who all comes with You? That sounds great.)

 

What’s it like when You see two people who held a grudge reconcile? What’s it like when You see the hungry fed? Are You merely satisfied (as no one should go hungry) or do You feel the relief and joy of those who’ve been fed infinitely more? How do You look upon a successful surgery and see creation restored?

 

Overall, how do You view the work of restoration? Is it a sigh of relief, as if to say, “finally.” or is it a process of joy?

 

What are our lives, God? How do You see them?