Learning to wait in an efficient world

Earlier today, I had a few minutes free so I decided to run out to make a deposit at my bank, which is located across town. Twenty minutes later, on the way home, I realized I might have made a mistake with the deposit slip. I was at a long traffic light so I whipped out my smartphone and checked to make sure it went through properly. Sigh of relief. Then I wondered if I’d gotten any new emails, so I checked, because why not?

It’s become a commonplace to observe that technology has practically removed time and space from our calculations. You can be there and have that, right now. You want to be in Virginia by lunchtime? Sure, hop in the car. You want to be in Tokyo by tomorrow? Sure, hop on the airplane; you can save time by buying the tickets with your phone on the way to the airport. We live in the age of instant gratification, when, if you feel a sudden hankering to watch SportsCenter and you don’t happen to be near the television in your living room or the television in your bedroom or the television in your kitchen, you can just whip out your iPhone to enjoy live streaming straight to the palm of your hand. Amazon Prime rakes in millions of dollars by getting Season 4 of Downton Abbey to you three days sooner. We have learned to expect everything to be here and ready with an urgency that rivals a nicotine addict reaching for his next cigarette.

Now, it’s true that all that speed and convenience aren’t necessarily bad. Time is limited, and tools that help us invest it well can be a good thing. But it’s worth considering how living with our own, personal technological genie in a bottle affects us. Among other things, it has made simply waiting feel strange and almost wrong. One of the great lessons of Scripture is to wait on the Lord; and waiting on Him is a lot harder when He’s just about the only thing left that expects us to.

Keep reading…