Lately, I've been pondering the slowness of God.
Slow to act. Slow to speak. Slow to anger. Slow to answer prayer.
I suppose entering into the Advent season has me pondering the slowness of God. Advent is, after all, about anticipation and longing and waiting. It's about a slow which reminds us of the slow and purposeful coming of the Christ Child.
As I go along my journey, I find the more I come to know God, the deeper I enter into relationship with God, I discover more and more about the great import of slow in a believer's life.
Our quick - our hurry up - is a consequence of our broken and fallen nature, of our separateness from God. But as we draw closer to God, we slow. We take more time for purposeful things. We spend more evenings as Mary did at the feet of Jesus. We linger over dinner with one another, sharing in the community of the saints. We meditate on the Word and allow it to ruminate within us. We search for quiet and stillness as our fallen nature is in the process of sanctification.
Advent teaches me of the slowness of God.
Of a God who stretches his hand over thousands of years to plan the perfect moment for his son's earthly birth.
Of a God who brings a son to Zechariah and Elizabeth in their old age, a son who will go before his own son.
Of a God who entrusts his one and only to a simple woman to care for and nurture and love for nine months in the womb.
Of a God who waits patiently as his son undergoes the human experience, growing in years and in wisdom so he can one day share the fullness of the gospel.
Of a God who waits three days so the world might believe in a resurrection and a restoration available to all.
Of a God who now patiently waits across the millennia for his gospel to come to completion.
Advent shows us a God who is slow and patient not for his own sake, but for ours. A slow that we might believe and know who we have believed in.
There are times, no doubt, when I long for a God who prefers quick. A God who answers my impatient questions with impatient answers. A God who hears my prayers and acts upon them quickly and decisively. A God who sees my longings and moves heaven and earth in one abrupt blow to see those longings quenched.
But what use would I be?
What would my story be if I did not learn longing, if I did not learn lament, if I did not learn hope?
How could I tell of his goodness, of his faithfulness? How could I share how he remembered me and showed his loving kindness to me?
How could I testify to the perseverance and diligence and discipline I learned in the midst of slow?
My fallen nature looks to God for quick, but I think God knows quick will only unveil part of the story. God knows quick will mean a weaker more vulnerable me. God knows lessons I must learn and heartbreak I must experience to be the me who can receive the longed for answer.
He is the parent who says no when the child thinks they can. He is the parent who sees and knows I haven't learned enough, grown enough, become enough yet even though I think I have.
God is slow because he sees the bigger story we cannot see. We see only a chapter at a time, but he knows the full windings of the plot.
God knows how longing will bring us strength and teach us to lean on him.
God knows how lament will teach us to yearn for the earth as it should be and not as it is.
God knows how hope will join with faith and love to shape us into the character of Christ.
The slowness of God is the thing by which he lovingly shapes us into the us he created us to be.
As we journey through the Advent season, let us ponder the slowness of God. Thank him for what he is doing in you in the midst of slow. Cry out to him in the pain of slow. Yearn for his goodness in the veil of slow. And be thankful for the us we will be on the other side of slow.