“Working together, then,
we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:
In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.”
– 2 Corinthians 6:1-2
During Lent I like to go back to the readings from Ash Wednesday. For me, Ash Wednesday sets the tone of Lent and the readings have a way of drawing me into Lent and keeping me focused throughout the season. The passage above was one of the readings on Ash Wednesday this year – a reading that stuck out to me as much that day as it does now.
Maybe it is just me, but it sounds a bit like God is saying, “I heard you and I’ll get to you when it is time…gosh…” He hears us. The hard part to accept is that in an acceptable time He will answer us. And for the record, He always answers, just not necessarily in the way we’d like Him to. I prayed for a long time about a certain relationship, for God to guide us and lead us along His path. In the back of my mind I was really praying for God to lead us to marriage, but I wanted to at least appear to be open to His will. God answered, though not in the way I was hoping for. He led us both along His path for our lives, which meant ending the relationship. In an acceptable time He heard me and He answered me.
Does God really roll His holy eyes at us when we ask over and over again for the same thing? Probably not, though sometimes I imagine that He rolls His eyes at me. Thank goodness that He is patient with us! His grace is not received in vain because in due time He answers us, He hears us, and He responds.
On Ash Wednesday, as I sat listening to the readings, my mind stopped exactly where the quote above stops. I thought to myself, “Oh fine, He’ll get to me whenever He feels like it. I’m probably not even a priority anyway. He’s probably sick of hearing my requests so maybe during Lent I should just shut up anyway.” I was downtrodden as Lent began, despairing that in an acceptable time (which, of course, is never according to my time-table) He would eventually get to my prayers. Thanks be to God, then, that the reading didn’t end there.
“Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.”
Lent is the time. Lent is the very acceptable time. Lent is the time for salvation. Lent is the very acceptable time that we enter into silence, we enter into His heart and hear Him. Behold, be still, for now is the time. Whether the Lord is answering your prayers the way you think He should or not, now is the acceptable time. This is the day the Lord has made, are you rejoicing in it?