Ministry Resources

Snails Pace

Author: Nancy A. Stevens

Have you ever noticed that embarrassing moments–when you feel like crawling into a hole and hiding–last a lot longer than several hours of joy?

I am convinced that time actually speeds up during fun moments and slows to a snail’s pace during trying ones, especially when you’re waiting for something. If you have spent time in a hospital as a patient, or tending to someone you love, you know that a hospital day is at least twice as long as an ordinary day at home. Well, at least that is how it seems.

Eternal View

Because God is eternal, He has an entirely different perspective on time than we do. After all, what is one year compared to zillions of years stretching into eternity? The Bible tells us that “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Peter 3:8, NIV). Of course, that doesn’t mean God can’t understand our frustration when we face delays. He feels every emotion we feel. But at the same time, He always keeps the long-range, the eternal, in view.

Usually, when I pray for a solution to a problem or for guidance to make a decision, I hope for an answer right away. When I face a crisis, I want God to immediately show me the way out or at least the way through it.

Today I happened to be reading the Old Testament book of the prophet Habakkuk, and I came across a verse that seemed as if it were written just for me: “The revelation awaits an appointed time . . . Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3).

Appointed Time

God has an appointed time not only to answer our prayers about changing a situation, but also to give us guidance. And wise King Solomon’s well-known discourse on the subject reminds us that everything has its appointed time: There is “a time to be born and a time to die, . . . a time to mourn and a time to dance, . . . a time to weep and a time to laugh, . . . a time to tear and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:2-7).

God has promised to hear our prayers, to be near us in times of trouble and to comfort us in our grief, to guide us when we ask for wisdom and to forgive us when we repent of our mistakes. He offers us His strength when our own is exhausted by wearying delays and disappointments. Patiently trusting God’s goodness and faithfulness while we’re waiting pleases Him immeasurably. And He will direct us when we need to take action–and often not a moment sooner!

Father, if this troubling situation must last longer than I would like, please strengthen me and help me with my attitude so that this time won’t seem so unbearably long. And prepare me for action, so that when You say it’s time for me to move on, I’ll be ready to follow Your lead.

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