“I can’t remember. I’m just going to Google it.” I’ve lost track of how many times this week I’ve said something to that effect. As a 21-year-old, that phrase is such a part of modern-day vernacular that I rarely pay attention to it.
Some of you remember a time before Google was a vital information source and used as a verb in everyday conversation. But for others, myself included, it’s hard to remember when the information we wanted wasn’t a click away.
“Googling” something became a phenomenon before I was born. I live in a culture heavy with the privilege of finding exactly what I’m looking for within a matter of seconds. The moment I have a question is the same moment I can find an answer.
It’s a thrilling – and unbelievably dangerous – reality.
People have speculated about how living in a media-drenched world must affect the faith-life of younger believers. As one of those younger believers, I can testify that it has brought unique obstacles. We’re constantly inundated with information and advertisements, photographs and travel vlogs, Facebook Likes and Instagram DMs, and a million-and-one competing worldviews all at once. And all of it is instantaneous.
In my own life, one of the more challenging concepts to grasp is that God doesn’t always answer my questions in an instant. He doesn’t always work in an instant. He doesn’t always hurl a flash of lightning or in a booming voice shout information. He’s closer than my very breath, but He doesn’t answer to my beck and call.
God, the all-knowing, all-wise God, is not Google. And yet, I come to Him with questions expecting Him to rain down knowledge in a fraction of a second – expecting to receive an electrifying strike of information on-the-spot. But I don’t.
He takes His time. And we pray frustrated prayers, seeing His delay like an annoying buffering circle on the screen of a computer connected to bad Wi-Fi.
Then, we check our connection, toss out prayers of confession, wonder if we’re not good enough Christians to hear from Him, disconnect, reconnect … and wait.
“Poor connection?” We think. “Maybe God just wasn’t listening?”
What if the real problem is that didn’t make room for Him to speak? We gave Him His instant and when we heard nothing, we figured He must have missed it. Or maybe we thought we forgot to hit a button.
We blame God for being inattentive. Or blame ourselves for being unworthy. We wait longer than we expected and suddenly the hidden inclinations of our hearts spill out of us like water boiling over a pot. And that’s where God can teach us the most … if we choose to listen. God does some of His hardest work in us around the questions that we want answered immediately but don’t have an immediate answer for.
I’ll be the first to say that my generation chafes at the notion of waiting longer than expected for God to respond in a way we didn’t expect. Call it impatience or entitlement, but it is just as rooted in pride as any other generational sin. None of us are off the hook.
God is not Google. And we shouldn’t come to Him with the same casualty that we bring when typing our latest search query. We shouldn’t come expecting immediacy instead of intimacy with God. We shouldn’t come with our ears set on a timer, allowing ourselves to listen for only the briefest of moments before tuning into something different.
He does come. He does answer. The Bible makes this abundantly clear. The question is, will we still be listening for His voice when the right moment for the answer arrives? Or will we be asking something else for the answer?