Faith Matters

Faith in the tough times: Some things are worth waiting for

In his latest Lent reflection, the Rt Rev George Davison, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Connor, considers how God's eternal timing is different than our own expectations

Our perspective on time is not the same as God's

PATIENCE isn't a virtue that comes easily to me. I don't like waiting. So, when I've made my mind up about a purchase that I'm going to make, I want to know which retailer will get it to me quickest.

I have to admit that these last few months have been challenging too. When will I be able to get out and about?

I know that the Covid vaccine programme will help make that happen, but when exactly will that be? I wish it could happen a bit sooner.

I've been the Church of Ireland Bishop of Connor since last September, but I've hardly had any opportunity to visit people in the parishes. It can all be a bit frustrating at times.

The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk knew something of that frustration.

As he looked on as the people of Israel apparently drifted further and further away from godliness, He cried out to the Lord.

As he wrestled with God in prayer, he had heard God's reassurance that He would do something remarkable to bring His people back, but Habakkuk is impatient.

His complaint to God begins with the words "How long...?" and throughout his writing we pick up hints that Habakkuk is keen to see things change, and change quickly.

God is everlasting, but his prophet wants to see progress soon.

He is eternal, but his timing is perfect... 

How do we react when we struggle to understand why God doesn't seem to be acting on our timescale? It would be easy to become impatient and frustrated.

However, that's when we need a greater appreciation of the 'big picture'. If we take the time to read the Bible, to familiarise ourselves with God's dealings with his people, not just in a lifetime, but over generations, we begin to realise that God's timing is often different to that of our expectations.

He is eternal, but his timing is perfect. Habakkuk hints to us that he has begun to understand that when he says: "O Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die." He expresses his trust in the Lord's good purposes for his people.

That's a trust that St Paul expressed too, as he had come to see God's perfect timing in His plan of salvation for the world.

As one who bore witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, he could say: "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).

Some things are worth waiting for.

Bishop George Davison's Lent reflections can also be found here.

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