In this age where speed of communication is everything, where instant gratification is a bit slow, where people are obsessed with knowing what they will soon know before they could ever know it before, we have a problem. God does not work that way; in fact, He is 1G as in the one and only G that matters.
Many of you are likely too old to remember the good old days when waiting was truly part of life. You waited for a desired movie to come out, saw it, and then waited for it to come out in theaters again a decade later. You were waiting for an important phone call, lived your life, and waited until the call caught you at home ( and not in the bathroom) because the phone was in your home and it was attached by a cord to the wall. You took an important test and waited for the results to come via mail. You prepared a meal and waited for it to cook. You wanted to see a television show and waited for it to come on because otherwise you would miss it. You wanted to buy something but did not have the money so you waited until you had the money. If you could not wait, you let it go. You wanted to speak with a friend but could not get a hold of him at his home phone so you waited to either see him in person or at least catch him at home via the phone. Your choices were simple: Wait and get what you want or do not wait and let it go.
In fact, waiting actually gave you the chance to find out how much you really wanted something. If you waited for something for a while and started to forget about that something, you concluded that you must not have wanted it as badly as you thought. When I was seven I desperately wanted a Jerry Mahoney puppet but my parents told me not to be a dummy and convinced me to wait a few months to see if I still wanted the puppet. Sure enough, four months later I had other things on my mind. When you saw waiting as a real part of life, it did not seem like the hell it seems to us today. You were more patient, less upset, more accepting of having to wait for things, especially things that really mattered. Eventually, you learned that waiting was a great filter, weeding out the trivial, fickle whims from the more persistent wants and, more importantly, from the genuine needs. Waiting allowed you to re-consider, to strategize, to review, to prioritize. It taught you that, indeed, “good things come to those who wait.”
If you look back at the last century, you will see that an increasing chunk of progress and technology has been focused on eliminating or greatly reducing the need to wait for anything. Why wait for a meal to be ready when you can microwave it? Why wait until the library is open when you can research from home? Why wait until you get home to make or receive a call when you can be called any place at any time? Why wait to shop anywhere when you can shop now online? Why wait for a graduate school entrance exam result when you can take the test now and get the results in seconds? Why undergo a surgery that takes four hours when you can find a doctor who can do that same surgery in half the time? Why take six hours to get to Europe when you can get there two hours faster? Within that technology, we have increasingly pushed for speed and speed’s equally sinister cousins, convenience and being first.
Along the way, we have been brainwashed into thinking that faster is better, that an inherent part of quality is how fast and how conveniently we can get what we want. Truth be told, however, speed is an earthly construct, a very temporal concern. Yes, sometimes speed is important, and rushing is necessary, but we have become addicted to everything from “instant” coffee to “fast” food. Why read when you can “speed” read? Society has truly become obsessed with speed. Companies tell us that they can do this or that faster and we are pushed to get things done “yesterday”. We see doing things quickly as a way to get things over with and be the first, as if getting things over with and being first in and of themselves guaranteed the best results.
Truth be told, we have life on speed dial, and this obsession with getting to the period in the sentence without bothering to read the sentence may endanger our very eternal salvation. You see, God literally has all the time in the world for, to Him, one thousand years is as one second. The Almighty is the true owner of time with the only clock that matters. Despite this, we scurry about in a big hurry despite suggestions that we stop to smell the flowers and actually enjoy life. This race to be first is truly a race away from God for we have told that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Simply put, we are racing through our quiz to be the first in class to finish when the teacher wants a well thought, sincere, careful answer. Imagine being the first in class to finish that exam only to fail and then react to the failing grade by saying ” How can that be, I was first to finish”.
Sometimes I believe that we are on speed dial because it gives us an excuse to avoid the details of our lives, to read the fine print, to be held responsible for the slips. Afraid to be caught in the details of being good, we prefer to be happy passengers in the vehicle of being “fast” or “efficient”. The problem is, however, that God is all about the details, all about sincerity, all about being deliberate and caring in how we live our lives and deal with others. Mahatma Gandhi once said that “There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.”
God does not want us to be faster, to be first, to be efficient, if it means that we are taking life, and people and, above all, Him for granted. We have to carefully find the race pace, the right balance, between being effective and being reckless. You cannot love, serve, and follow Christ with life at 4G. You cannot love or serve others with life at 4G. You cannot pray and talk to God living at 4G. If you fail to remember that, when the call for eternal salvation comes your way, you may just end up dropping that call.
Copyright, 2013 Gabriel Garnica All Rights Reserved