Life Takes Time

It may just be me, but I’m increasingly disinterested in speed and convenience.

This has not always been the case. I remember being so excited that I could go to Taco Bell and eat in 15 minutes or less. I had more important things to do (i.e. nothing much). I saw a trip to Walmart as profitable because I could get anything I wanted or needed all in one place. Smart phones have made it even easier to do more in less time in just about every area of life.

In all of the gains in convenience, have we ever stopped long enough to consider what we may have lost?

With access to so much, we feel more rushed to experience it all. We surf from station to station or site to site. We get bits of information here and there but rarely the whole story. The results are often disastrous. We can take our pursuit of convenience into our relationships. Our quick methods of communication give us little cause for pause when forming accurate and appropriate words. I’ve been caught by this on many occasion.

In the end, our drive to do so much results in experiencing very little.

My wife has been making her own bread from scratch. She took some time to get together with a friend and learned how to create incredible, healthy bread at home. I have not yet learned all the details, but I know it involves a great deal of time, patience and fortitude. As I’ve observed Cara’s efforts, I couldn’t help but reflect on faith and parenting.

Life may be a grand event, but living is a process.

I can say that I have faith, but being faithful is a different matter. As a follower of Jesus, I could start a prayer life with a 5-minute routine each day (and that would be a fine place to start). But I could also determine to stay there so I can have more time for…well, for something else. (We wouldn’t dare admit the something else is more important, though.) But prayer is meant to be done “without ceasing” which directs our thoughts and minds to experiencing God in the process. It’s not something we check off a list; it’s something we continue to devote our time, patience and fortitude.

As a parent, I could jump to all the books about having a new kid in 5 days or less. Then, it would be easy to think that I could move on to other pursuits on Day 6. It’s good American logic. But Scriptures teach that parenting and training in wisdom is a lifelong pursuit. It’s a time when our children experience us and we experience them. Parenting is just as much for our spiritual growth as it is for our children. But parenting is a process that requires an intentional effort involving time, patience and fortitude.

Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (ESV).

The truth of Scripture indicates that it take time to be a faithful follower of Jesus. Paul implies this when he encourages us not to grow weary. He fully believes in the real possibility of our growing tired of the prayers, tired of the parenting talks, and tired of intentional living.

The Bible speak of things coming in “due season.” Following Jesus isn’t a 12-step program. We don’t complete our learning until we are “promoted” to life in heaven with Christ. We can mark special times with God along the way, but we should not stop experiencing them. The Scriptures call us to take hope that we will reap benefits according to God’s timetable. Our focus is to remain in the process and not give up.

In other words, faithfulness isn’t convenient; it takes time.

I can tell that some days making bread is just exhausting. But the smell, the taste, and the nutritional value are worth it! In fact, it probably tastes that much better because you realize you were faithful in the process.

Perhaps we need to stop looking for the quick and easy guides to life and determine to enter the spiritually forming process that God is working in us through His Spirit. Rather than focusing on saving time, we might do well considering how we spend our time.

  • In all of our time-saving technology and efforts, what have we gained? What have we lost?
  • Why do we seek to avoid the process and skip to the results? Does it work?
  • Are we actually experiencing our children as parents? Can our children say they’ve experienced us and our faith?
  • Do we view a commitment to Christ as simply a one-time event, or do we join with God in the process of our growing up in Christ?

It’s taking some discipline, but I’m asking God to help me learn to experience and enjoy the process. We live in a time when we have many opportunities and conveniences. Yet, while all things are lawful not all things are helpful – not all things build up (1 Cor. 10:23). I want to evaluate everything I do and see that it is helpful to fulfilling God’s will and purposes for my life.

I’m asking for the wisdom to give myself and my family enough time to actually grow and experience each other. I’m asking for the patience to wait in hope for what God will do in His time. I’m asking for the perseverance and fortitude it takes to not only run the race but finish well.

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