We love instant. Netflix and Prime help us get our shows instantly. Spotify and Apple music help us get whatever music we want when we want. Drive-thru restaurants, instant coffee, ready-made meals, miracle grow on our vegetables.
They say that in the early ’00s the average person waited for 8’s on a link to open before clicking again or moving on. Experts say it is now closer to 3. 3 seconds!
We are obsessed instant. Heck, who can blame us, instant is amazing. Why wait when you don’t have to?
The problem is we have allowed instant gratification to infiltrate other parts of our life where it has no business being.
Instant love. Instant celebrity. Instant sex.
We have also allowed this idea to penetrate our concept of faith. Whether it be the rate in which “discipleship” happens or the growth of our churches or even how rapidly we elevate up the sanctification ladder, there is an emphasis and desire for fast results and instant growth.
When I look at Scripture, however, this is not the picture I see. What I see is all about the refinement of time. Think about the disciples, three years of following Jesus in every imaginable way before they were finally released to do it together.
Even more so, some of the most prominent figures in the Older Testament needed years of being crafted and refined by God.
Joseph was seventeen when he had the dream of his brothers bowing down to him. If he would have seen this dream fulfilled within a short amount of time, I believe it wouldn’t be the happy ending of redemption and reconciliation Genesis tells us about. Joseph dealt, time and time again, with incredible adversity. Each time God used the pain and struggle to mold Joseph into the type of man who could fulfill the destiny God had planned for his life.
Or how about David. While his older brothers were off at war, David fostered his skills with a sling and lyre while watching over stinky bleating sheep. Yes, David was still a very young man when he began to achieve success in Saul’s army, but he didn’t ascend to be king. David endured great persecution, again refining his character. God used the abuse from Saul to shape David’s character, just as with Joseph, into the type of man who not only was royalty but lived like royalty (a little hint about my next book).
Finally, think about Moses, the most famous of the three. Forty years as an adopted Prince in Egypt. Forty years as a fugitive shepherd in Midian. Forty years wandering through the wilderness with a group of frustrating nomades. God first began to mold Moses as he shepherded sheep and then added a nation to the process. Both took a substantial amount of time before they were the type of people ready to inherit the destiny God had called them.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that God never works rapidly. The Apostle Paul was a rapid case. There have also been many throughout history who are redeemed, changed and are immediately called upon to do great things. That is their story, though, and it is not the norm.
Embrace the wait, savour the lessons of time, cherish all the lessons learned, and reject a drive-thru faith.Tweet