The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient… – 2 Peter 3:9 NIV
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son… – Galatians 4:4 ESV
Remember what it was like as a kid waiting for Christmas day to arrive? For children, it may be part excitement in seeing far-away extended family, participating in a time-honored family tradition or simply the expectation of a special toy. The questions can be frequent and incessant, sometimes with the touch of whine: “Is it Christmas Day yet?” “It’s taking a long time!” “Is it ever gonna’ get here?”
Kids are so present-focused they have difficulty grasping an understanding of a longer time horizon. It’s a combination between wanting something now and their struggle to have hope that something will eventually come to fruition.
In reality, I’m not sure many of us adults are much different. Perhaps we have better coping skills to keep it under wraps so others don’t see it quite so easily. But just because we don’t wear our thoughts and emotions on our sleeves as many kids do, doesn’t mean we don’t feel the same way on the inside during seasons of prolonged waiting.
For me, this is especially true when I’m anticipating God’s direction, help or intervention. In His apparent silence, I pray, search the Scriptures and pray some more. “Is it time yet?” “He’s taking a long time!” “Is He ever gonna’ get here?”
Honestly, there are times when I become frustrated with God’s apparent slowness. Like my own kids, I have difficulty grasping an understanding of a longer time horizon than the one I can see with my human eyes and imagine with my human understanding. But with a little mature retrospection, I can look back on my own experience with the Lord and see where He has accomplished things in His own time. Again, if I’m being honest, I admit that His way caused me to exercise more faith in Him because I couldn’t make it happen in my own way and timing.
As we anticipate the day for celebrating Christ’s birth, where might we be frustrated or impatient or discouraged about God’s apparent lack of showing up in our lives? That lowly baby in a cattle trough wasn’t what most expected and came centuries after many of the Old Testament promises were given. Yet Galatians tells us it was exactly what God intended all along.
This holiday season, may the Advent story remind us that God is patient and has promised to act on our behalf… in the fullness of time.