“As long as it takes,” he said.
Whenever my husband answers a question like that I feel like throwing things at him. Over the last thirty-five years or so, Charles has answered that question the same way. We had just started dating. I wanted to go out for dinner and then go dancing, instead my boyfriend was busily trying to change a transmission in his hopped up muscle car. I sat on the pavement, bored, handing Charles wrenches and sockets when he asked for them.
“How long is this going to take?” I asked and yawned.
“As long as it takes,” he shouted from under the car.
We had been married for five years and I was expecting my first baby. I was as big as a mountain and baby was overdue…waaaay overdue. Baby loved “womb service” too much I suppose. The doctor tried to induce me not once, not twice but five times but finally decided to send me home to wait until my body decided to go into labour on its own.
“How long is this going to take?” I asked my husband in exasperation.
He shrugged and shook his head, “As long as it takes.”
We were all piled into a motorhome and enroute to Los Angeles. We had never traveled there before and certainly not with a “tweenie” and two preschoolers. My husband called it our “great adventure” but after driving for hours and hours with restless children whining every few minutes, “Are we there yet?”, I was ready to turn the rig around and go home.
“How long is this going to take?” I asked.
My husband gave me that “Et tu Brute?” look and then glared back at the road. “As long as it takes,” he growled.
We live in a world of fast, fast, fast. Everything in our world is fast-paced. We want instant results, instant gratification. We don’t want to wait. We want everything right away…high speed internet, microwave dinners in two minutes or less, rapid transit, super-stock, jet-propulsed…zoom, zoom.
We put those expectations on God too.
“Lord, I’m running out of patience. I’ve prayed for him to come to You. Years and years I’ve prayed for his salvation. How long is this going to take?”
“As long as it takes,” the Lord answers.
“I’ve tried to be patient. I’ve asked you to heal her, Lord. How long is this going to take?”
“As long as it takes,” the Lord responds.
“He’s been out of work over a year, now Lord. We’ve asked You for direction. We’ve asked You for patience while we wait, but seriously Lord, how long is this going to take?”
God smiles at me and says, “As long as it takes.”
Then I realize what I have just said. Did I just ask for patience and then expect God to “hurry up” with that?!
“To wish someone Godspeed is to ask for God’s blessings on his or her endeavor, most notably a long journey or a risky but potentially rewarding venture… The confusion over the meaning of Godspeed, which may also be rendered as god-speed or even goodspeed, lies in the definition of speed. The original meaning of the Old English word speed had nothing to do with velocity, but rather prosperity and good fortune. The addition of God to the concept of financial bounty may sound jarring at first, but the word Godspeed was an acknowledgment of God’s generosity and blessing. Speed in that sense was the righteous acquisition of wealth and property through hard work and reverent behavior.” (definition from: http://www.wisegeek.com/)
I suppose I’m not quite there yet.
… We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. (The Message)
How long is this going to take?
As long as it takes.