“‘The days are surely coming,’ says the Lord.” -Jeremiah 31:
Read Jeremiah 31:31–34
As I prepared to walk the Camino de Santiago—a 500-mile pilgrimage across Northern Spain—well-wishers would often say, “Godspeed.” Of course “Godspeed” is a medieval expression meaning “good journey.” Nevertheless, we tend to hear it as “God’s speed.” As I walked 40 days across Spain, never moving faster than foot speed, I mused on the question of God’s speed. We tend to assume God’s speed is fast, but if creation is any evidence God’s speed is often very slow…at least from our perspective. That creation began 13.8 billion years ago suggests that God is not in a hurry. Or perhaps we should say God is patient.
When Jeremiah prophesied “the days are surely coming” in reference to a new covenant, I doubt he was anticipating a six-century wait. In whatever way Jeremiah understood the coming of a new covenant, we Christians connect it with the coming of Christ. But between Jeremiah’s “the days are surely coming” and Jesus’ “this is my blood of the covenant” there are six long centuries. Godspeed is sure, but it may not be quick.
Coming to terms with the “slowness” of God is the art of patience. When we are impatient—whining from the backseat, “Are we there yet?”—we inevitably become frustrated and quarrelsome. When we demand “results” on our own timetable, we will most likely find ourselves out of step with the patient pace of Godspeed. Impatient saints don’t exist. The saints have learned the secret of being patient with the world, with themselves and even with God.
God, help us to be content to walk slowly with you, knowing that even when it appears nothing is happening, the days of salvation are surely coming.
Brian Zahnd, Lead Pastor, Word of Life Church, St. Joseph, MO; Guest Faculty in Ministry, Leadership & Culture, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary