Tuesday, 2 April 2013

When God is late.

"When the people realized that Moses was taking forever in coming down off the mountain, they rallied around Aaron and said, “Do something. Make gods for us who will lead us. That Moses, the man who got us out of Egypt—who knows what’s happened to him?” So Aaron told them, “Take off the gold rings from the ears of your wives and sons and daughters and bring them to me.” They all did it; they removed the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from their hands and cast it in the form of a calf, shaping it with an engraving tool.The people responded with enthusiasm: “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up from Egypt!”

Exodus 32:1-5 (The Message)

Time management is not my forte. I see watches as fashion accessories primarily, with their time keeping function as a nice afterthought. The clocks on my phone and my Mac are both set 17 minutes fast. I know this because I wait 17 minutes, and then leave my house, subsequently arriving at least 5 minutes late for lectures, meetings and any other potentially important events in my life. (Hint: setting a clock fast to make sure you're on time doesn't work if you just adjust your schedule to the actual time because you know the clock is fast).

Peversely, I am impatient and I hate waiting. Not so much for other humans, (of course not, that would be too hypocritical :-)), but definitely for God.

Example: It's a rainy Monday morning, I've arrived 5 minutes late (as usual), and missed my bus because I decided that 5 minutes extra sleep was clearly more important than getting to the hospital clinic on time. Cue prayer: 'Dear Jesus, sorry I'm late again, please send a bus soon so that I don't get into trouble, I promise to be on time tomorrow, I wasn't out late last night drinking/fornicating/insert typical university sin of choice.. I was just tired...therefore, please be merciful'.  I wait for 2 minutes. I tap my feet. I look at the bus timetable (which clearly states that had I been here 7 minutes before, I would be on a bus.) Honestly, what is taking God so long?  I look up at the sky incredulously. 'Erm God..I prayed for a bus?'

So perhaps a bit of ridiculous example, but you get my point. I pretty much expect instant answers to my prayers. I want what I want, exactly how I want, and at exactly the right time. Because God is supernatural, right? He's outside of time, right? So why should I wait?

Let's look at a more serious example that's probably closer to home. You're getting to THAT age.  You know, THAT age. The age where your friends are starting to ask you to be a bridesmaid/groomsman. The age where every few weeks facebook announces that 'Jimbob and Bonquisha are engaged' . The age where the more senior members at church are starting to ask you if you have a 'special friend', and reassure you that you are on their prayer list.

Cue Jamal. Jamal is tall,dark, handsome, funny, edgy (whatever that means), and attends your local  church. What could possibly be wrong? One thing.

The fact that God has not chosen him for you. I repeat. The fact that God has NOT chosen HIM for YOU. You don't care though. You're fed up of waiting. God is clearly taking his time, so you are determined to make this thing work. This situation is fairly common. Unfortunately, too many people realise the mistake they've made after it's too late to back out. It's sadly probably one of the reasons recent Barna group surveys show that the Christians and non-Christians have near equal divorce rates.

The point of this isn't marriage or relationships though. This applies to any area of your life where you choose to create a God for yourself - something that you are willing to put in place of God's will in your life, because you cannot trust that God is fulfilling all your needs in his time. Maybe it's a job that requires you to work on Sabbath instead of waiting on God to supply your financial needs. Maybe it's a group of friends that are a negative influence on you spiritually, but you aren't prepared to adjust relationships because you're scared of being lonely. Maybe it's a 'more than friend' relationship that you are using to supply your need for intimacy instead of allowing God to control that area of your life. I don't know what/who your gods are, but I definitely know what mine are. 

I do know though, that when God saw the children of Israel making a subsitute god out of a comparably worthless piece metal because they were fed up of waiting, he wasn't only angry, he was deeply upset. He felt betrayed. He felt hurt. In fact, while they were making other gods, he was painstakingly working on their behalf to provide them with direction though his law, and to reassure them that he was the same God who had brought them out of Egypt. They just couldn't wait.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil,to give you a future and a hope."~ Jeremiah 29:11

God has so many beautiful plans for our lives, better plans than we could hope for ourselves. I know for myself, there are many times I have stepped away from the path God has planned for me because I thought there was something else that could fill me. I just wasn't convinced God's way was best or that he was getting the timing right, so I decided to make some slight modifications. I'm learning (finally) that unbelieveably, God cares about me more than I care about myself.

I cannot claim that you will understand everything this side of heaven. I cannot reassure you that God's plans will not at times feel painful. In the wilderness God seemed to the Israelites late, absent, or even indifferent, but the same God that led them out of Egypt, and through the desert, also led them to the promised land. I think that's a promise that we can hold on to as well.

Blessings homeslices x

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