Trust the Process

I’m a bit late with today’s inbox note. I’ll skip the prologue and get right into this week’s thoughts.

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. - Genesis 3:15

Most theologians agree that in this passage we find the first promise of the coming Christ. The seed of woman (usually regarded as a reference to Jesus,) will crush the head of the serpent. Though the serpent will strike at his heel, woman’s offspring will ultimately crush the tempter. This sentiment is echoed in many of Paul’s writings. He repeated says that “God has placed all things under his [Jesus] feet.” (Eph 1:22, 1 Cor 15:27, Heb 2:8).

This is the first time God shows us a glimpse of his plan for the redemption of mankind. This was the first indication of his glorious plan to pour out grace to all of mankind. After the promise, it would be another 77 generations (4,000 years) before God’s plan of redemption was manifested in the flesh on earth. Another 77 generations before mankind would see any tangible proof of God’s plan coming to fruition.

Why did God take so long to do his thing, here? What was going on across those 4,000 years? What was he doing and why was he taking so long?

While God’s ways aren’t like ours, he has been gracious enough to reveal some of his ways to us through his word. And, I think he’s revealed some of his purposes for this 4 millenium gap between his promise and the proof of it through the narrative of his word. Not only that, but I think this revelation about this 4 thousand year gap is instructive to us in our lives:

As elaborate and intricate as his designs are, I think God’s timing in the coming of Jesus boils down to one word: process.

We live on earth. Space and time define our physical realities. We race against the clock in just about every aspects of our lives - our jobs, our families, even our liesure is set against the backdrop of time. This isn’t God’s reality, though. God is the author of time. Just like the author of a book, he lives outside the time oriented reality he has created for us.

If God lives outside our time oriented reality, it makes perfect sense that he is never in what we would consider a “rush”. God doesn’t have a clock to punch. He knows everything. He has everything well in hand. He has set everything into motion. He has no uncertainty. Because he is all knowing and all powerful, he is obliged to take his time in working out his plans. He is obliged to take his time to reveal himself. He is obliged to work every meticulous detail without skipping a step. He is obliged to delight himself in his processes!

So many times in our lives, our time oriented mentalities cause us to be impetuous. We make irrational moves and countermoves to beat the clock. We skip steps - often times, thwarting our own attempts to get to point A or point B in our lives. God doesn’t do that. God values processes far too much to skip steps!

Last week, I wrote to you about the great privilege of prayer and the unique invite we have through Jesus to pray persistently. Many of us have been praying about people, places and things for long periods of time. Sometimes we think God isn’t answering. Sometimes we think he isn’t moving quickly enough. Sometimes, much like Mary the sister to Lazarus, we think “if God would only move on this, NOW!” 

Whatever it is that you may be seeking God about these days, I want to encourage you to continue to engage him in prayer. Don’t give up. Keep going back to the throne of grace with your request. However as you approach God with faith and trust to answer you, I want to encourage you to also trust his processes.

Over and over again throughout the scriptures we see God answering people’s prayers. However, he doesn’t usually go about it in conventional ways. He doesn’t come on the schedule we prescribe. He doesn’t come in the ways we expect. He has his way of doing things. 

These days, I’m praying for more grace to be appreciative of God's methods - not just the outcomes. I’m praying that God will create in me a heart that is joyful in patience. I’m praying that God will give me a heart and mind that looks to him in all things, trusting steadfastly in the efficacy of his processes.

Critical Questions:

  • How does time effect my decision making?
  • How would my decision making be different if I had all the time in the world?
  • Can I think of ways that God has answered my prayers, but through unforeseen means?
  • When I ask God to do things, do I also subconsciously think he should do them a specific way or at a specific time?
  • Have I missed God moving in an area of my life or in response to my prayers because I was caught off guard by his process?