Do you sometimes wish you could always get an immediate answer from God? Yesterday I was reading the book Reclaiming Conversation by MIT professor Sherry Turkle. She was talking about how texting has transformed courtship. She interviewed a number of people who talked about the "new rules" for things like the right amount of time before one should respond to a text message intended to begin a romantic encounter. According to those interviewed, the worst thing about relationships and texting is that you can respond by simply saying NOTHING - which you would rarely do in person. According to Turkle, that tends to drive people crazy. (However, you are not supposed to let the other person know it drives you crazy.) Yes, these are really the rules!
But, I wonder if our growing experience with texting affects how we connect with God through prayer? Do we want an immediate answer from God to whatever request we make? How long should we be expected to wait for God to answer? Notice that the word "immediate" contains the word "media." One of my seminary professors told us more than once that all revelation from God is mediated. He was not talking about the Book of Revelation, but the belief that God always comes to us through something else - some media. Sometimes it comes through words of scripture, through the events of our lives, through an internal conversation going on in our heads, or through a piece of music we hear. These are just some of the ways God is mediated to us. But if our primary experience of digital media is always fast, flashy or entertaining - what happens when God is mediated to us in other ways?
Remember that God says things like, "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10) And how often does God tell people in the Bible to wait? When God doesn't come to us immediately, maybe we need to wait and slow down -- rather than assuming God is not going to answer. We might just sense the God who moves according to God's timing.
Prayer for Today
God of past, present and future - help us to wait, be still, and slow down -- so that we can be present for you. We pray this in the strong name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.