Answer: When you’re standing in front of the microwave waiting for your lunch to cook.
Question: How to redeem that time?
Answer: Read the Lean Cuisine™ packaging.
I have done this at work so many times I have the back of the box memorized. Their marketers are quite clever, actually. The back cover copy of their current packages contains the following categories: “Good Question,” “Good to Know,” and “Good to Remember.”
Borrowing these from the great folks at LC, I’m reframing my original query.
- Good Question: When does time not pass quickly?
Answer: When you’re waiting for anything. Silly things like a pot to boil or a light to change. Significant things such as a job offer to materialize or a house to sell. Serious things like a medical solution to chronic pain or the return of a prodigal child.
Waiting, I am convinced, is one of the most challenging things we are called on to do in life. It’s one thing to turn the pages on a nine-month pregnancy or count down the days till a wedding when joy awaits you at the end. But to wait for the solution of that which has no promised resolution can fray the edges of your soul like nothing else.
I am convinced that we need to develop a Theology of Waiting.
- Good to Know: We’re not alone in the Waiting Room of life.
The pages of scripture are replete with stories of those who wait.
Hannah awaiting a child.
Job waiting for an end to his troubles.
Abraham waiting the fulfillment of God’s covenantal promises.
“Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him,” wrote the Psalmist. “Sit still, my daughter, until thou knowest how the matter will fall,” Naomi advised Ruth.
- Good to Remember: We have a choice as we wait.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
In the light of our dilemmas, we can wait anxiously and impatiently or we can wait hopefully and expectantly, knowing that God has not forgotten us. His arms are not too short to reach into our present situation. His silence does not equate his absence.
“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:25
To wait patiently is to persevere. Our English word perseverance comes from the Greek words upo (“under”) and meno (“remain.”) To persevere is to remain under pressure, yet to keep our eyes lifted above our present circumstances.
Like many of you, I have a lengthy list of friends and family who are enduring difficult waits right now – release from searing pain, resolution to marital impasse, response from bungling bureaucrats. I can do nothing for them but to come alongside them in the journey, remaining joyful in hope and faithful in prayer on their behalf.
The day is not yet over; the answer they are awaiting may yet arrive. As Tolkien reminds us: “Still around the corner there may wait a new road, or a secret gate.”