Time moves quickly . . . until it doesn’t. In my life, most of the time, days fly by. My family and friends have frequently heard me say “I can’t believe it is already _________(insert month, season, or holiday).” Time seems to race by – most of the time.
Sometimes, though, time screeches to a halt. When you are waiting for a phone call back after a job interview . . . or a biopsy, every second has the pace of a monopoly game. Dealing with grief (like the death of a loved one or the loss of a dream) also stops time in its tracks.
Our modern world seems designed for swift progress. We microwave our food and can travel halfway around the world via jet plane in just a few hours. Everything is supposed to move with breakneck speed. Because of that, we can be confused when our life slows down. Not only do we struggle with the PAIN of the diagnosis, rejection, or loss, but it is compounded because we feel inferior that it takes more than 10 minutes to get over something.
Sometimes, however, God does not work as fast as we want Him to. From our perspective, sometimes God stops the stopwatch. We need to remember that. Take the Apostle Paul, for example. Though Paul’s life seems to be at breakneck speed as we read the book of Acts, we sometimes forget the years in the wilderness after his conversion; the years in exile back in Tarsus before Barnabas brought him to Antioch; or the two years in prison in Caesarea awaiting trial before Felix and Festus (and ultimately Caesar.)
I was thinking about seasons when “time stands still” as I walked the streets of Caesarea on the Mediterranean Sea during our time in Israel. Paul languished in prison for two years in Caesarea while a Roman leader waited for someone to bribe him for Paul’s release. Though these years take only a verse or two in the book of Acts, they could have felt like an eternity to the Apostle Paul.
How is the clock moving in your life right now? Is it racing along, or has it slowed to a snail’s pace. No doubt your circumstances help you measure the pace of your life. Paul’s experience in Caesarea, however, reminds us that sometimes being square in the middle of God’s plans (like Paul in Acts 22-28), means waiting for the next chapter to start, the pain to subside, or the diagnosis to be definitive. Apparently, God needs to marinate some things deeply into us over a longer period of time.
No doubt God redeemed the time Paul spent in prison in a variety of ways, and no doubt God wants to bless you and others through your seasons of waiting as well. Paul waited in Caesarea . . . where are the places you have waited on the Lord? Know that God is at work bringing to fruition His good plans regardless of how fast you perceive the clock to be moving.