Slowly but Surely

Slowly but Surely

2 Peter 3:8-9 (NLT)But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

The revelation was a bit discouraging but I am definitely slowing down. My body does not allow me to cram quite as much into a day before giving way to tiredness. I do not feel old yet I am beginning to experience the characteristics of aging. This is not a melodramatic tirade about old age and getting old but rather a simply stated fact. Youth gives way to the notion of invincibility. A teenager or young adult does not consider tomorrow but lives spontaneously for today. There will be endless tomorrows to plan and worry for the future so they live in this moment. The moment is filled with immediate gratification. There is no waiting but a constant need for movement. Anticipation gives way to impatience and the impetuousness of youth doesn’t allow for slowness, steadiness or careful consideration. As time passes, the choices made during these times welcome us into adulthood. With families and responsibilities being knocked around a bit by life, it is time to enter the rat race and chase the American Dream. Busyness consumes us. Climbing corporate ladders and chasing after children, life ticks by day by day. Until the day, the nest gets a little bigger. The endless pursuit of satisfaction leaves behind broken promises and dead dreams. Nowhere near the golden years, but maybe with a few gray hairs, there will be many who utter the words “there must be more to life than this.” There is. I believe that the Lord waits for us to get through those other things and do what we need to do so that coming to Him, we will be ready.

The Lord is not being slow. He is not slack concerning His Promise. Our God is filled with unfailing love, compassion and mercy for us. Countless times it has caused Him to calm His Anger, and hold tight the Hand of Wrath that our transgressions should release. However, in our finite thinking, taking freedom for granted in our prayer closet crying out – “Where are you God?” Oh, He is right here. Waiting and watching for us to respond to His Promises held securely in His Hand. When our minds reach the end of our knowledge, our bodies grow weak and weary, and when our soul is left unfulfilled, it is only the beginning. We must slow down. It is not our nature. God will wait until it is.

A day is like a thousand years to the Lord. When it comes to God the saying must be true that He’s got “nothing but time.” Each person create has a plan with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) It is achieved by wholeheartedly seeking the Lord. (Jeremiah 29:13) Humanity has eternity in each beating heart that is ready to connect with the Kingdom. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Every day is recorded (Psalm 139:16) so our way is mapped out moment by moment so even the moments filled with mistakes and misfortunes our not dead ends but still line up with our destination. The Word of God promises that He perfects that which concerns us (Psalm 138:8) so that takes the pressure off of me. Finally, my all-time favorite after living half my life, I “know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His Purpose for them.” It took a long time to get here, but I am glad that I did.

2 Peter 1:5-8 (NLT) In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The more you grow, the more productive and useful you will be. The Word of God is seed to a fertile heart. It doesn’t always manifest fruit as soon as it is planted and often must go through many seasons to grow. We like immediate growth. Nobody likes to wait. Ever. The effort put forth to attain the Promises of God for our life is faith which is not an innate human quality. It begins with a tiny measure tucked within us that must grow into righteousness. The first step is salvation and the application of God’s Grace in our life. It cannot stop there. If we do not continue the growth process of redemption with such things as surrender and obedience to the Lord, there will be no fruit or satisfaction in our life.

The process of faith is marked by slowness. Moral excellence takes a great deal of self-control. It requires careful thought before each action. Self-control comes from knowledge. We have worldly knowledge that is good and useful such as not to touch a hot stove or it will burn us, but when it comes to spiritual wisdom – we must obtain it by studying the Word of God, praying it and living it until it yields each promise. This takes time. But then God’s Word talks about the things most people loathe like patient endurance and godliness. Making us think of exercise, our flesh comes up with a million excuses why there is no time or worth to seeking such trivial things. Without persistence in patience, exercises of endurance and the Holy Spirit’s production of self-control though it is possible to have a good life, we will not have the life that God has promised.

Hebrews 12:1 (NLT) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Do you see it hidden in this verse? Could it be a hint at why we are waiting all the time? “Let us strip off every weight that slows us down.” We want the things of God. We find them in the Way of God. His Way is One Way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Jesus Christ. God waits for us to find “the Way”. Let us strip off every “weight” that “slows us down.” I wonder if all this waiting and watching is meant to alleviate the weight of sin that slows us down. Could it be that in the patient process called faith that God allows things to slow us down so we will recognize each weight and burden? Yes.

Habakkuk 2:1-3 (NLT) I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guard post. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint. Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.

Countless times in my life, I have felt like the watchman on the wall standing at the guard post waiting on the Lord. I have gone willingly and not so willingly. I have wasted a whole lot of energy climbing up and down indecisive about God’s Timing and unsure of His Faithfulness. It is not human nature to trust but to test everything. It is only now after much waiting that I am beginning to understand the futility of impatience. God is God. He is Sovereign. He will not change His Mind. God does not lie. There is no point in my attempts to rush the things that the Lord is doing in me, through me and all around me because His Will will be done. God is not delayed. He is perfect. His Way is absolutely flawless. He is working out the details for my full benefit and will not stop just because I am not happy or given to fits. Trust me. I have tried.

I want to encourage you today to wait on the Lord. Climb into the watchtower which strangely resembles your prayer closet. Stand guard at the door of your heart barring doubt and disbelief in the stillness of waiting. A lesson that I learned during our son’s illness is that our waiting is also filled with precious moments of life called time. Once time passes it cannot be recalled. No one can turn back the hands of time. I remember one evening early in the fight. The room that I shared with our son had twin beds – one for the patient and one for the caregiver. The silence was broken by the crickets outside and the rhythmic ticking of the pump by his bed. He said, “Mom?” “Yes.” “Thanking you for coming to take care of me. I know you are having to miss work and the girls and all…” My heart sank so deeply I could feel the mattress move. All I go utter was “there is nowhere that I would rather be.” During the next few years, I spent countless days and hours waiting and watching our son fight for his life with the Lord by his side. Because of that nighttime conversation with him, I recognized that while I did miss home that there was no place I would rather be or no more important use of my time. We had a lot of good times in the midst of what the enemy laid out for destruction. I think sometimes as believers that it is easy to become so focused on what we want the Lord to do according to our human expectation that we miss what He is doing in our heart. Even in the long hours of waiting each moment is filled with meaning, purpose, and promise. We must learn to live in the waiting periods of life and recognize the importance of patience. Impatience will rob us of the love, grace, joy and peace that the Lord has provided in those moments. However, as we learn to slow down and wait on the Lord our strength is renewed. (Isaiah 40:31)

James 5:6-8 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.  You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

In I Peter 2:2-3, it talks about our arrival as newborn babies who crave spiritual milk. Milk helps babies grow, develop and mature. Spiritual milk does the same for believers. The purpose is to grow into the full experience of salvation. In kindergarten, my very first science project was to grow a radish in a small Dixie cup. Every day I watched and waited, elated when the first leaflet pushed through the soil. However, when a radish was not produced in a week, I lost interest. My mom tended the tiny plant, watering it, putting in the sunshine, and tending it until she came to me one day so I could harvest the radish. We think that the Lord is slack concerning His Promise. Deciding that surely He has forgotten us. Yet when we refuse to wait rushing off ahead, or sit pouting in the watchtower, the Lord carefully continues the process of cultivation in us and around us so that nothing is wasted even in our inability or unwillingness to wait on Him. We have no choice so it seems that it would be beneficial to make the best of it.

Growing a radish in a cup is an elementary science experiment for children. Those who participate are not farmers. A farmer is someone who grows from experience. He understands the growth process and invests in it continually. We can experiment with Christ or learn to experience Him every day. It is our willingness to invest our life and time in spiritual growth and heavenly pursuits even when it means extended wait times that make the difference in our life.

Proverbs 20:29 (NLT) The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.

Yes, I am definitely slowing down in more ways than one. Gone are the all-nighter. Done with the endless activities crammed packed in a day. No more going until I fall over because otherwise I would be in bed by 6PM. Those gray hairs peeking out will be dealt with by my hairdresser next week, but the experience that I have had with Jesus is priceless. I have spent countless hours waiting on the Lord only to know I cannot move forward without Him. Rather than escaping the waiting room, I find peace right there in that moment. I think that at my age, I am finally learning to pace myself and find balance. Where are you now?

Whether you are a kid, teenager, young adult or seasoned person, you will go through times of waiting. It is the process by which the Lord grows the Word in us to faith. He is an on-time God which seldom fits our schedule or routine. You think you need Him now, but just wait until tomorrow. God is making it come to pass slowly but surely. If you can find it in the Word of God, you can have it. If you can see it in scripture, you can be it. If your pursuit is Jesus, you will find Him. You just may have to wait a while. Is that okay? It is when you consider it will be worth it. It will be worth it all.

James 1:12 (NLT) God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 

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