Recently, a writer friend shared an email she’d received from a reader who said she didn’t want to spend money for a book that only takes two or three hours to read. That makes as much sense to me as saying, “I don’t want to pay money for food that my body will eliminate tomorrow” or “I don’t want to pay to put gas in my car because the tank will be empty again after a few days of driving.” But I digress.
My first response to the aforementioned reader was to want to inform her that if she doesn’t at least occasionally buy new books from her favorite authors, she soon won’t be able to get books used or at the library or anywhere else by them because the publisher will drop an author who isn’t selling enough books.
My second response was to groan, knowing that what takes me months and months to research and write and edit can be consumed in just a few hours. The aforementioned reader doesn’t seem to understand how long and carefully we authors labor over a manuscript.
I just wrapped up Exodus in my current reading journey through the Bible, and I came across a passage that relates to my second response in regard to the matter of time.
In chapter 32 of Exodus, while Moses was up on the mountain receiving instructions from God, verse 1 says: “Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain…” (The Message says it this way: “When the people realized that Moses was taking foreverin coming down off the mountain…”). The people were tired of waiting. It was taking too long. So they demanded that Aaron make them a golden calf. And while they were making the idol, God told Moses in verse 8
that the people “… have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them.” (The Message says: “In no time at all they’ve turned away from the way I commanded them.”)
When reading this passage, I was struck by this difference. The people thought the passing of time was long, that Moses was delayed in his return, that he was taking forever to come down the mountain. And yet God thought the passing of time was brief, that the people had reacted quickly, in no time at all.
How often am I like the people at the bottom of Mount Sinai? So impatient, thinking that something I desire is taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R to come to pass or something I don’t desire is taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R to stop or go away. But it isn’t that way to God. Our Omnipresent Father is in the beginning, the middle, and the end and has ordained the proper time for everything.
I’m pretty sure it’s taking me an eternity to finish my Work in Progress. And worse, I’m pretty sure my editor feels that way too. But in God’s eyes, perhaps it’s happening quickly and most definitely just exactly at the proper time. As long as I don’t decide to build a golden calf, I should be okay.