I came across a verse the other day while preparing for a talk. As I read it, I found my mind making connections I didn’t expect. I had read the verse before, many times in fact. But this time it came alive in a whole new way.
The Apostle Peter, in the letter we call 2 Peter, says, “The Lord is not slow concerning His promise…” The implication is that God isn’t slow in carrying out His promise, even though it can feel like that sometimes from our perspective. He’s actually very patient. He patiently waits for us human beings to finally realize that our way of doing things doesn’t get us anywhere. And when we come to that realization, He is there waiting for us.
The fact that God is so very patient should make us all incredibly thankful. I have given God plenty of reasons to be impatient with me. And I bet you have too. I’m hard-headed, always thinking about myself, and always seeing things through my narrow point-of-view. I put my needs first, I forget the needs of my wife and my kids, I ignore the fact that there are people all around me, and I act like I’m the only one that matters. What a jerk!
And yet God is patient.
But there’s another side to the verse that I hadn’t seen before. Because the Bible was written in Hebrew and Greek, there are many different translations of the Bible as men and women have done their best to get the full meaning of the original language into the English language.
Because of this, it is often helpful to read more than one translation to capture the full meaning of a particular verse. On this day, I was reading in an old translation and instead of using the word “slow”, the translators had used the word “slack”.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise…”
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As I read that, I began to think about the implications of the word slack. By definition, slack means to be not taut or held loosely. Picture two soup cans connected by a string. You know, like in the kid's science experiment where they create a kind of telephone. When the string is loose, nothing travels between the two cans. But when you pull it tight and speak into one can, the vibrations carry across the line and into the other can where the message can be received.
What does this have to do with the verse?
Well, imagine God holding one end of the line. He’s got the soup can in hand, He’s whispering into it. He’s sending His love, His goodness, His blessing, His favor, His strength, and His wisdom through, but as long as the other end of the line remains slack, nothing can pass through. He is patiently waiting for us to pick up the other end of the line, pull it tightly to our ear, and receive the good things He wants to give us.
For me, the slack represents all the things that I put in between me and God. You know, all the excuses I make not to talk to Him and all the other things I do instead of spending time with Him. For some reason, I let life get in the way of me picking up the line.
What’s keeping you from picking up your end of the line? What’s getting in the way of connecting with Father God?
I believe there is no better time than right now to drop whatever else you’re carrying and answer the phone.