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  • Writer's pictureDoug Weiss

In God’s Time

You’ve probably heard the aphorism that the only time we really have is now. The past is over, we cannot alter what is done, and the future has yet to come. There is a lot of truth to this, yet we wrestle with the concept. Human time is very subjective. Five minutes can be an eternity or the blink of an eye—it’s how we think and feel in the moment that creates our sense of time.

That subjectivity has a profound effect on our relationships with our loved ones—with others, and with God. If you are observant, you will note that some people are patient—they move with deliberation and are intentional in what they say and do. They seems to have no obvious sign of urgency about them yet they accomplish whatever they set out to do with equanimity and grace. Others are frantic, always moving on to the next thing sparing no time for reflection or response. While we may find some of that decisive behavior admirable, it can also be overpowering and indifferent to the circumstances surrounding us.

For each of these personalities, time plays a pivotal role—well human perception of time. One operates out of a sense of abundance—a belief that there is always enough time, while the other views the world through the lens of scarcity; never enough time to accomplish all that needs to be done. In our youth we are generally given to the scarcity view—we act with a sense of urgency and are ready to gobble up life as fast as we can, while age brings with it a more contemplative sense and sometimes a sense that life is melting away from us too quickly—that we are running out of time.

For God, neither of these perspectives is meaningful. These are strictly human sensibilities. God’s time is eternal it was, is and will be—without end. Our human lifetimes in this world are insignificant against this measure; they are a blink of the eye. It is nearly impossible for us to see things this way—to have a sense of the infinite. It is bigger than our intelligence or experience can comfortably fathom.

What put me in mind of this was a something I read recently. It was a reminder that God knows what is in our hearts even before we ask, and that we need only trust that it is done, as soon as we ask. Our human sense of time weighs and calculates and when our prayers seem unanswered in an instant we are quick to see this as proof God has not heard us. But he has, and he has already acted—we just need to be patient—and wait, trusting him to do what he has said—ask and you will receive. As I said last week, he will deliver—perhaps not what we expected but what he knows and has planned for us. That can only be judged in the span of our lives—never in the moment. We cannot know the peace that awaits, in the pain of the moment, nor the difficulties we will make for ourselves, if we try to bring about something by exerting our human will, without waiting on him to show us what he wants for us.

So what does this have to do with relationships? The former Pharisee, Paul, wrote a description of love—of all things, in his first letter to the Corinthians. Paul was an attorney—a legalist, calculating, precise, and not someone you would think given to writing on a subject like love. Yet he does in a very well-known passage that many people take as part of their wedding vows. A close read of this passage, however, reveals something beyond the superficial notion of romantic love. It is about God’s love—an unselfish and all-encompassing love—one that only poets, painters, musicians and writers sometimes catch a glimpse of –through a glass darkly—as Paul writes. It is a love so big and so much beyond the human experience, that no one can fully capture it—you might as well try capturing air with a butterfly net.

One of the words that Paul uses in his description of love is patience. He says Love is patient, that it is kind and trusting—among other things. He was talking about more than waiting on your loved one to finish getting ready for a social engagement, or being willing to listen to your significant other tell a story he has worn out with over use. Paul is talking about abiding—waiting on the lord to deliver his promised outcome. It is what he wants of us all—to abide, resting in a place of trust, and secure in the knowledge that his will is already done.

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