‘The best things in life take time’ Wes King sings in the intriguingly named song ‘Slow Miracles’.

We are often impatient creatures, wanting answers to our prayers instantly, ever mindful of Isaiah 65:24: ‘before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear.’ We expect God to do things according to our timescales, and our timescales rarely involve waiting.

God’s timescales, however, do. There is no getting around that fact. He urges patience, talks about it as a fruit of the Spirit, something that has to be cultivated in our lives if we are to grow in character and participate in the divine nature. Patience and perseverance only come about through waiting. God does not inhabit time the way that we do (with Him, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day, Peter reminds us), but there is a purpose in His patience:

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Pet 3:8-9)

Slowness does not equal lateness. God operates on the right timescales. He is neither early nor late. When the right time had come, He sent His Son to earth (Gal 4:4). Jesus lived for thirty years in relative obscurity, ‘doing life’, learning to be human, learning obedience through what he suffered, learning a trade, living an ordinary life. His ministry, often perceived in a blaze of glory and amazing miracles, took three years of faithful preaching and service. C. S. Lewis argued that the miracles Jesus did were simply reflections of what happens in nature on a faster timescale (water turned into wine instantly, for example, without all the fermentation process!)

Sometimes we need to look for the ‘slow miracles’ in our lives and be prepared to wait. As with the Psalmist, we need to “wait for the Lord;be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Ps 27:14) A slow miracle is nontheless still, by definition, a miracle.