“The least of them shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation;
I am the Lord; in its time I will accomplish it quickly” (Isaiah 60:22).
My youngest child turns 7 years old today. I will celebrate a child’s birthday today for the 60th time. Only 30 more left until they are all ‘grown up;’ I guess this means I am 2/3 of the way there. My, oh my…
There is nothing that seems quick about an ER visit for a broken bone. Nothing that seems particularly fast about morning sickness, or 45 months of having your body be stretched in all kinds of directions you never thought possible (OK…to be fair, I was only watching—in awe—as my spouse endured this…) Staying up all night while a little one vomits again and again does not feel speedy in any way. Nor do the teenage years seem to pass with any kind of swiftness. In fact, we often feel like this is a ‘process’ that is never going to end. Most days seem more like the monotony of Groundhog Day than the celebration of Easter Sunday.
We seem to prefer the ‘moments.’ Ash Wednesday. Palm Sunday. Good Friday. And yes, Easter. They are things to which we look forward. But the moments, they pass so quickly. It is why I am glad that the Church decided long ago to celebrate not just a day, but a season, of Lent. Lent may begin, end, and revolve around the ‘moments;’ but it is practiced and lived out in the ‘process’—“in its time,” as Isaiah writes.
The apostle Peter once wrote, “with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day” (2 Peter 3:8). Peter is saying that God is not subject to our human measurements of time. We become impatient waiting for a traffic light to turn green; God is infinitely patient and values ‘the process’ just as much as ‘the moment.’
In the 9th chapter of Matthew’s gospel, he records many miracles that Jesus did in a kind of rapid-fire succession. We read about the moments that a girl is restored to life, and a woman, two blind men, and a mute person are healed. These moments are signs that God is at work; but they point not to a God who just randomly shows up in the world at a ‘moment,’ but to a God who has been continually at work all along, in all of us, in a ‘process’—a process that often seems so long to us, and yet quickly comes and goes before we even realize what has taken place.
As I celebrate my daughter’s 7th birthday today, I want to enjoy the moment with her. But I also want to enjoy the process. To quote both Kenny Chesney and Trace Adkins, “don’t blink,” because, “you’re gonna miss this.” Life happens both quickly and slowly, yet always, ‘in its time.’
In this Lenten season, may we allow the Lord Jesus all the time he desires to work in us, both celebrating the moment (“I will accomplish it quickly”), and embracing the process (“In its time”), from the ashes of repentance to the celebration of resurrection. Amen.
Rev. Phil Michaels
Meet Today’s Author…
Phil Michaels is a husband and father of five, and the Co-Founder of Via Illuminate, a non-profit organization focused on holistically meeting the needs of “the Least of These” in underserved and underreached communities. Phil has earned both an M.Div. in Spiritual Formation and an M.A. in Missional Leadership from Northwest Nazarene University. He is also an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene and has served both as a staff pastor at ‘traditional building churches’ and as Co-Pastor of an ‘organic’ church, Illuminate Peru.