Winter is officially over now but the spring certainly has been slow in coming this year. This past weekend, when the temperature hit nearly 70, I was outside in a T-shirt washing my car and cleaning out the garden. I smiled at the thought of similar, warm days ahead. Then came Sunday, and Monday morning, just when I thought the cold weather was over—WHAM! Here it comes again—one more round of winter.
So I’m calling this the “slow-motion spring.” It’s slow motion because the signs of spring are all around—they’ve just taken longer to show up due to the extended cold. I’ve been watching the signs for the past three weeks: Robins feeding in the yard, the buds on the trees are swelling, crocuses are blooming (several weeks later than the norm), and the daffodils are up—but not blooming.
All this goes to show that despite the extended cold, nature has been working all this time—beneath the snow, beneath the ground—bringing new life out of the old and the cold.
I’m thinking this spring is a lot like the times in our lives when it seems God is working in slow motion too. A major part of that is our impatience—we want God to work his will now, not six months from now. Our pre-conceptions about God tell us how God ought to be getting things done. But this is never, or rarely, how God works. God’s timetable is God’s, not ours. Instead, God works more like the spring—beneath the surface of our lives. We can’t see it most of the time but God brings new life out of our old selves through God’s Holy Spirit.
In our times of impatience with God, we may want to remember the attitude of watchful waiting adopted by the Hebrew prophet Habakkuk, who asked when God would act to protect the righteous:
I will take my post; I will position myself on the fortress. I will keep watch to see what the Lord says to me and how he will respond to my complaint. Then the Lord answered me and said: Write a vision, and make it plain upon a table so that a runner can read it. There is still a vision for the appointed time; it testifies to the end; it does not deceive. If it delays, wait for it; for it is surely coming; it will not be late (Habakkuk 2:1-3).
So whatever you’re waiting for—be patient. God knows your need. God cares about whatever it is that may be troubling you. It may seem like God is working in slow motion, but it will come in the time appointed by God. As sure as winter gives way to spring, God will bring new life and bear new fruit in our lives when we put our faith and trust in God.