Our sense of how conversation should happen is that we say something and immediately the other person says something. When we are face-to-face it happens in seconds. Though often, we don’t hear words in seconds. We walk a long distance without words with a friend, knowing that silence is part of the conversation as well. The closer the relationship, the longer the silence can linger.
With email, with tweets, with voicemail, it can take a day for a response. (Or longer for me. I’m sorry.) If it’s more than that, we often get frustrated at the delay. We start to fill in the gaps with our guesses. We are often, we discover when we finally hear from the person, really bad guessers. In the old days, with ships carrying the mail, conversations could take weeks. A letter smuggled from one hand to another, from prison cell to distant friends could take months and then was read and passed on, read and memorized.
God will converse with us, but it will happen in the longer time frame. Just because the response isn’t like texting doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. It may take weeks on some subjects, years on others. And it will happen across many media. Psalm 19 tells us that “the heavens declare the glory of God. In Acts, a man in a vision interrupted Paul’s sleep and sent him to Macedonia. And, as my friend Rich wrote recently, “when someone asks how you knew this was what God wanted you to do, you realize there’s no nice clean answer that’ll really make sense to anyone else.”
I wish, sometimes, the conversation moved more quickly, that God spoke faster. But then I tell myself what David did: Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
I wrote this several years ago. I didn’t know what would happen in the intervening 8 years. But for me, that time supports what I said back then.