Six days to form the heavens and the earth and all that inhabit it, plus a day of rest. Eighty five years to form a child in Sarai’s womb. Forty years to arrive at the Promised Land. The list goes on. God is no stranger to taking His time.
For some of us, who are used to fast service, immediate replies, and instant gratification, reading the prior made us cringe with horror. Western culture has cultivated an expectation of instant everything. Taking things slowly, waiting, and delay are not in our vocabulary. No wonder patience is a virtue.
Even outside of the western culture, it is in our human nature to want all our needs and wants met immediately. We hate waiting when there is something we are truly longing for or believe that we should already have because it’s “necessary” to our survival.
Think about all the different circumstances that cause us to wait longer that we planned; maybe it’s an adoption process, finishing school, waiting for that promotion, etc. Whatever it may be, we all know of an instance when we or someone we know faced circumstances that did not go according to our plan and the process began to take much longer than anticipated.
This turn of events does not faze God or catch Him off guard. In fact, it is actually in His timing. God is more about the process than the destination. All too often, we have focused on the end prize. We know what we want/need and we strive to get it as soon as possible. Yet, God knows that there is much more for us along the way than just in the destination.
One way to fully grasp this concept of a God of process is to take a short term trip to visit the children with whom The Boaz Project works. Going into a trip, we may plan to immediately befriend the children, have a great week, make memories, take pictures, and then return home. Yet these trips are much more of a process than that. Often times when working with children who have experienced great trauma, befriending them is a process. At first they are shy and reserved; they cannot quickly form a trusting relationship with you.
As the week goes on it is truly beautiful to see how the process of showing up, inviting them in, and allowing them to open up on their terms can create a beautiful friendship. This process allows us to see the beauty of what being patient with a child can bring. If we were all friends as soon as we showed up, it would take away from the chance to experience vulnerability, a spirit of welcoming one another in, and acceptance.
When we take the time to appreciate process, our experience is fuller. Instead of just receiving what we believe we want, we are able to enjoy watching how God brings things together. Our God does exceedingly, abundantly more than we can think or imagine and His timing is perfect. As we step out of our time frames and deadlines and enjoy the journey, we are able to press in closer to Him.