I saw an infographic yesterday that said, "90% of text messages are read by donors within 3 minutes."
It's a different day.
Contrast the speed by which we send and receive information with the slowness under which John and Abigail Adams operated. Adams, a central figure in the formation of our nation, served as our first Vice President and our second President. David McCullough relays this incident in his Pulitzer-prize winning biography:
He had been away from home now for more than a year, leaving Abigail to face two winters without him, the first of which had been the most severe in forty years. Her letters never stopped, one season to another, though they arrived sporadically and were nearly always five or six months out of date. She wrote to him about the war and the severe weather. Sadly she related the deaths of his brother Peter's wife, Mary, and of his mother's husband, John Hall. His mother, she wrote, "desires her tenderest regards to you, though she fears she shall not live to see you return." . . . On Christmas day, 1780, longing for him, she had written a letter he would not receive until nearly summer. John Adams by David McCullough, p 256-57.
For those of you unaware, a letter -- ink pressed to paper -- was a formidable means of communication for centuries. It necessitated diligent care in writing, a trip to the mailbox, and a willingness to wait for a reply. We need not bother with such inconveniences today. We have the ease of word processing, we have the power of "Send," and we have reduced the wait of communication from six months to less than six minutes.
It's a different day, but there is a bane to this blessing.
Speed makes us impatient. Watch someone's fingers at the keyboard do the jitterbug as they work back and forth between wrong letters hurriedly tapped and the delete key necessary to correct them. Watch the impatient responses to messages sent:
"Come on! I sent the text two minutes ago, why hasn't she replied?!"
Motoring along in a Model T is quite fine until one sits under the spell of a Maserati. Speed warps perspective. We begin to think that because we don't often have to wait, we should not have to wait.
It does not take long down this path called life to recognize that waiting is integral to the journey. I see this in the Psalms where the word "wait" appears some twenty-three times; the writers offering lament mixed with hope as they stand idly by.
As I write this post, our newest grandson, Jack Archer, is just seven days old and lying at the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. Archer is connected to a number of very important diagnostic feeds that constantly monitor his condition. It is his seventh day of life, all of them spent in the hospital. Here, waiting is the norm. Waiting has been the norm for his mom and dad too, having spent the last 57 days in the hospital either waiting for Archer to arrive or now patiently waiting on him to improve. With Archer's upcoming heart surgery two to five weeks in the future they will be waiting for some time to come.
It is a different day -- and it is not. While much of life seems to move at Star Trek's "warp speed," waiting -- and waiting on God -- is as normal as breathing. We must not forget that. And we must remember, like Isaiah and the psalmist before us, that our wait does not negate the presence of God nor His power to act.
Maybe it is not such a different day at all. Wait on the Lord.