Just got back to Dallas after a week in Haiti serving at Mission of Hope with 38 Porch volunteers (plus a few volunteers from other churches across the U.S. that we “adopted” while down there).
At first glance, Haiti seems so different from Dallas that it might as well be on another planet. But spend just a little bit of time there interacting with people, and you realize that Haiti and Dallas have more in common than you might think. The circumstances are different; the average Haitian makes about $2 a day, which I suppose makes them poorer financially than even the average homeless person here. But people are people wherever you go, and the core struggles of our lives are essentially the same.
For example, it is commonly said that Haiti is 80% Catholic, 20% Protestant, and 100% Voodoo. They believe in God, but they believe He is slow. So they turn to Voodoo (or “Vodou”), which is basically calling on the power of evil spirits, as a shortcut to try to get what they want.
How is that at all like Dallas? Well, if you were to ask Haitians about Dallas, they would probably say that the people here are 80% Protestant, 20% Catholic, and 100% materialistic. That we believe in God, but we believe He is slow. So we turn to the power of our resources or use other people as a shortcut to get what we want. We don’t wait for marriage. We don’t commit to sticking things out long-term. Our money gives us access to alcohol, or pornography, or designer clothes, or whatever else we think can satisfy us and make us happy. Of course, the problem with these shortcuts is that in the long run they have never, ever, made anyone happy.
So is God slow? In one aspect, actually, God is slow. The Bible is very clear about that. The Scriptures say that God is slow—to anger. The phrase that God is “slow to anger” occurs in the Bible at least 9 times. Another way of saying “slow to anger” would be “patient.” God is patient with us when He could rightfully be angry. This patience is the focus of another “slow” verse, 2 Peter 3:9:
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
The Lord is NOT slow. But He is patient, which means we have to exist in a broken world at least a bit longer. Two thoughts to keep in mind in the meantime:
1. Life is short, but eternity is really, really long.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. – Romans 8:18
2. The shortcuts we try to take are often the very cause of our unhappiness.
That is why Satan is called “the father of lies” (John 8:44).
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. – John 10:10
Look to God for life. Don’t fall for the Dallas Voodoo.
When God seems slow to give you what you want, what do you turn to? I invite you to comment below.