October 3, 2013


The other day over coffee with an Arab friend, she made a comment that stood out to me.  She was talking about stuff going on in her life and how she was waiting...and waiting....and waiting.  Then she blurted out, ¨My God is the God of the last minute!¨  I laughed with her and said, ¨He´s my God, too!¨

The "God of the Last Minute" is not about leaving things til the last minute and expecting Him to deliver us.  (Although I confess that I´ve been guilty of that - and maybe we all have at some point!)

This is about our experiences where it seems God brings an answer at the proverbial 11th hour. There are only a few things that seem to make sense about this to me...because I'm pretty sure it's not in His character to enjoy watching us stress about it.  There seem to be some things which only waiting can produce in us.  A kind of maturing that is grown in delay...

If you have kids or have been around them long, you realize that the younger they are, the less capacity they have for waiting.  Babies have almost no tolerance for waiting.  Their world is themselves & getting their needs met and they let you know it!  As they grow, they have an increasing capacity for delayed gratification.  Toddlers continue to struggle with this, too, especially as they hit two and enter a power struggle with those around them.  Between their self-centeredness (normal for their age) and fight to be independent, it's a good thing God made them cute!  (If it weren't for that, they might not make it til kindergarten...jk!)

Knowing how to wait, then, is a sign of maturity.   And since waiting can be a form of suffering for a lot of us (I say this tongue-in-cheek: I do not mean to make light of the many deep forms of suffering), this verse seems apropos:

"...we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope."
Rom. 5:3,4

Might our own adult versions of "delayed gratification" be about these very things?  Learning perseverance, building character, developing hope in waiting?  The delay of what "gratifies" us or pleases us (translation: what we want or need) has a specific, intentional, God-injected purpose.

God's version of "last minute" looks very different from man's...

We  are  familiar with plenty of last minute things in this life...

Last minute studying
Last minute trains
Last minute touchups
Last minute tax returns

Last (minute) chances!

Last (minute) words.
Last minute regrets
Last minute of the day
Last minute bachelor burrito 
Last minute shopping
Last minute change of plans

A lot of last minute things in life are consequences of our own lack of organization or perhaps an unexpected crisis or interruption.

Spiritual "last minute" delays create a discipline, the discipline of waiting.  The discipline of waiting causes us to pursue spiritual exercises that we might not otherwise pursue: intercession, special, focused attention on God, perseverance in seeking Him through His Word, crying out earnestly, desperateness which drives us to grow in our capacity to trust, deeper sharing & learned interdependence on the body.  Deepened love and gratitude result from prolonged waiting - quick answers, like fast food, are meant to be inhaled quickly, grabbed on the run, not lingered over.  Real spiritual food, like a great gourmet meal, is to be savored and appreciated.  

I have observed the Lord working  this way in the life of my oldest daughter over the last year or so.  It is uncanny the way she is made to wait for answers to numerous, important things!  I believe  He is entrusting her with difficult waiting situations because He is working deeper things in her.  

We should also recognize that this is not just about our own personal character.  There are things we cannot perceive or understand that are going on in the heavenlies that God in His sovereign wisdom & timing as Lord of history is aligning for His eternal purposes.  When all is in place, He reveals our own interconnected-kingdom-answer that we need to move on.  An ever-growing faith and resting trustfulness in this Sovereign One moving things behind the scenes is another sign of maturity.

Don't grow weary, my friends!  The "God of the Last Minute" is working through the "discipline of delay"* for many unseen purposes!  Waiting for and on God are always worth it.  

*a phrase of our dear friend RA which has enriched our understanding of life with God.

Photos by:  (in order of appearance) The World According to Marty,   El Gran Toñeti,  Eastenhuh, vary, @reel,  bhamgal,  Balley,  Official US Navy Imagery,  zoomion, james seattle,  windkoh.

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