Smiling at our noisy toddler in the front pew, our beloved (and tolerant) Pastor Parks often imparted a proverb that has stuck in our minds like glue to glitter.
“Our God is so slow, but he’s always on time,” he said.
Over the past 40 years, my wife and I have remembered and shared this truth many times over.
In Jeremiah 33:2-3, God affirms his promise to answer my prayers and seals his pledge with three meaningful words taken from his account of creation: made, formed, and established.
“This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it—the LORD is his name: Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
Made: He created earth out of nothing.
Formed: He designed earth like an artisan.
Established: He placed earth in a protective space.
As certain as gravity holds me to the ground; as certain as earth remains affixed a safe distance from the sun; as certain as my love for my children and bright-eyed grandchildren—God’s promise to answer my call is certain.
My call to Jesus may rise from tears of grief or confusion. I may scream my call in the language of frustrations or lack of self-control or hopelessness. But whenever I call, God immediately begins adjusting my circumstances.
My inner wrestling has no effect upon God’s promise to answer. God has secured his promise with his son’s blood shed upon the cross—not by my ability to restrain doubts. His promise to answer me is as sure as the act of creation itself.
In that moment when I surrendered my heart to God (the Bible calls this “believing”) Jesus invited me into his presence to vent, argue, listen, sing, weep, laugh, make requests, or have deep conversations. The Bible calls our limitless dialogue with God: prayer.
“But God! Nothing is changing…”
Why can’t I see the answer being made? Why can’t I see the answer being shaped? Why can’t I see the answer being established in my work-space of life?
Because my narrow sensory and intellectual experience distorts terrestrial reality. In other words we can be blinded to the unseen world around us by our hectic lives.
But the earth IS turning on its axis, even if I can’t feel it. The wind rips through mountain passes, though I can’t see it. Adjustments within my circumstances ARE happening—though undetectable.
I call. God will answer because I am his. That’s it. And trusting God means that I trust him to make, shape, and establish miracles in response to my call, on his timetable.
Here are some seasons when God has answered my call:
A healed relationship took 20 years.
Health issues took five years to resolve.
Grief grew easier to bear after 10 years.
Avoiding a head-on collision took 15 seconds.
Surviving a fall off a ladder took all of four seconds.
In each of these seasons, long and short, I marvel that the observable answer is directly attributable to Jesus’ response. He never missed a single call and he was always on time.
“As for me, I call to God and the Lord saves me.”