It Takes Time

Galatians 2:1 “Then after fourteen years I went up to Jerusalem again with Barnabas, and I took Titus along also.”


Today I feel we should pause at this verse. There is something about this verse I believe speaks to our lives today and how we want things to happen quickly.

Here’s the basic timeline Paul has laid out from the end of chapter 1 to this verse today beginning chapter 2:

After Jesus revealed himself to Paul on the road to Damascus (and after the scales had been removed from his eyes), Paul went to Damascus and stayed there for three years. After this he went to Jerusalem for instruction with Peter for 15 days. Then he traveled to the churches of Syria and Cilicia, though they did not know him personally except by his former reputation. Now we get to today’s verse, “Then after fourteen years I went up to Jerusalem again with Barnabas, and I took Titus along also.”

Do you notice it? There is a span of at least 17 years described here of Paul’s life where he is learning, praying, discerning, teaching before he was really known and accepted as an apostle. It is easy for us to read this, and his story in the book of Acts, and not pay much attention to the amount of time and transformation took place in Paul’s life.

Remember Paul had all the education and credentials from his training in Judaism, but God wanted another form of training. God did not want Paul just to jump and, he gave Paul the gift of time in order to learn more about grace and about Jesus Christ.

In our instant gratification culture we live in today, how many of us like to wait for our goals? I don’t. I would rather my goals would be completed right away so I can move on to the next one. My guess is that you are like that too. But, what if we viewed the time it takes for the goals and dreams to be accomplished as a “gift?” Something else to think about, what if we looked at the time it took for us to realize our dream would not be accomplished as a “gift?”

Each day we have is a gift from God. When it takes awhile for a dream, goal, vision, etc. to be accomplished in our lives, God is giving us the chance to be different. God is allowing us time to be transformed into the creation he created us to be. God is working in our hearts so that we are stronger and have better character in the end. God is allowing us the time to appreciate what we have and what we are able to do. To focus on this goal so we can see the value in it.

Instead of multitasking or seeking immediate gratification, I invite you to see what you are doing and the time it is taking as a gift from God. Who knows what you’ll be able to do when it is all said and done; but you’ll have embraced the time to get it done right.

Paul would probably not have been so grace-filled, he may not have trusted the Lord like he did, he may not have been able to handle the prison time and the beatings he took if he did not take the time for God to change him and teach him.

Will you take this time this year?


Published by Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

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