God Is Our Context: Our Current Context

One of the most repeated sayings of 2020 must be: “I can’t wait until things get back to normal.” I’ve said it myself, or something like it. You’ve probably said it too. We’re Americans. We can’t wait in the best of times and COVID-19 has not been the best of times.

We not only dislike waiting; we fear it. We fear being left out in the cold. Whenever there is a surge in the pandemic, we rush off to the grocery store, afraid that if we wait another day there will be no more toilet paper. We speed off to the Speedway station because we heard rumors of a gas shortage.

The psychologist Noam Shpancer has written, “We respond strongly to—and synchronize quickly and powerfully with—our immediate, current context. When we have one dollar, having two dollars is a dream. When we have a hundred dollars, having two dollars is a nightmare. Our current context dominates our experience. We forget the past, can’t wait for the future, and interpret all of life by our current context.”[1]

We can’t wait – even for God. Why is he taking so long? Why isn’t he, like us, rushing around in a dither – doesn’t he care? Where is the God of justice?

But the Bible tells us that God is patient. Right after clarifying that “The Lord is not slow [but] … he is patient,” the Apostle Peter tells us why that is important: because “…our Lord’s patience means salvation” (2 Peter 3:15), St. Paul praises the “riches of [God’s] … patience” (Romans 2:4). When Peter wrote in his first letter that God is patiently waiting for people (1 Peter 3:20), he was echoing the prophet Isaiah: “…therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you” (Isaiah 30:18). How about that? We thought we were waiting for God, and all this time he has been waiting for us!

“We … synchronize quickly and powerfully with our immediate, current context.” We can hardly see beyond tomorrow. But God takes the long view. He sees the end from the beginning. There is no uncertainty with him, no fear, and no hurry. The better we know him, the more we acknowledge him in daily life, the more we become like him: confident and unhurried.

Worshipers take on the characteristics of the god they trust, whether that God is the Lord or an idol. The psalmist (Psalms 115 and 135) wrote: “Those who make [idols] will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” But it is also true that when we trust in God, we become like him: “…we, who with unveiled faces all contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness” (2 Cor. 3:18). That why “…he who believes [in God] will not hurry” (Isaiah 30:18). Those who trust in God become like him; and he doesn’t hurry.

[1] Noam Shpancer, Ph.D., “Lessons From the Pandemic: What Coronavirus Reveals About Us,” Psychology Today (3-23-20)


About salooper57

Husband, father, pastor, follower. I am a disciple of Jesus, learning how to do life from him. I read, write, walk, play a little guitar, enjoy my family.
This entry was posted in Christmas, From the Pulpit, Spiritual life, Theology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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