Never Late (Hab. 2:3)

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” (Hab. 2:3 ESV)

The summer in the Cascade Mountains is a warm window of respite from the consistent and predictable drizzle and overcast skies. For a few months, the azure sky and crisp air reinvigorate and recharges the countryside. Absent are dreary skies, daily watering, and the musty dampness. The sodden landscape is replaced with golden fields of wild grass, tossed by the warm wind meandering through the valley floor. Gangs of majestic elk roam the open pastures; massive antlers and dark brown mantle accent their reddish-brown hide. Grazing on the abundance of grass and fruit, they meander through the meadow, alert and prepared to escape full gallop into the cover of the forest at the first hint of danger. So was the backdrop for a naïve, eager nine-year-old boy and his canine companion.

I recall sitting crosslegged in an early summer morning, the crisp air filling my nostrils as I examined a beaver pond located off the Cowiltz River’s overflow tributary, adjacent to the large meadow, a short hike through the forest. It was fantastic. While my black labrador wandered, I examined the engineering feat, including a dam and beaver hut in the middle of the lake. It was a beautiful textbook beaver habitat. However, it lacked one thing—a beaver. As I set out for my daily journey or returning from a hike, I would wander by to check on the pond’s status—nothing. Each day the same. Initially, I thought the beaver was hiding, in the hut or the woods, doing what beaver’s do.

Weeks, months passed without a sign of the beaver or activity. Predictably, the temperatures dropped, the daily precipitation returned, and the seasons changed. Gone was the warm summer breeze replaced with shorter gray days and the cold, dreary weather of Autumn and Winter’s white blanket. The fir canopy provided shelter from the persistent drip and wet snow on our frequent treks through the forest to the open meadow during these seasons. I braved the constant autumn drizzle and cold winter winds to steal a peek at the partially frozen beaver pond and to listen. But, still no sign of the large-tailed mammal. Disappointed my persistence did not produce the outcome desired, I stopped looking.

As it warmed and days lengthened, the spring drizzle gave way to the return of reinvigorating summer in the mountains. Forgotten was the beaver pond, replaced with other interests and places for us to romp and greater distances to explore. The farther the trek, the longer the return. On one of those summer days, when the daylight started to fade, my labrador companion would lead the way. She would take the familiar but indirect path home. As we exited the darkened forest canopy into the meadow, she sprinted in the opposite direction, barking as she ran. The sun had set, and the gray skies were darkening. Despite my persistent call, she refused to return. Reluctantly I set off in her direction. I reached the spot where she stood barking, her tail wagging. I looked in the direction of her barking, the beaver pond. There, in the water, was not one but a pair of large-tailed mammals paddling in the middle of the pond.

As adults, don’t we seek the Lord in prayer, expecting an immediate answer or resolution. As we return, daily, weekly, even monthly, without an answer, our expectations decrease to a point where we stop asking, seeking. Disappointed, we move on to other issues, forgetting the request, pitching the dream, desire, or plea. We trek through our meadows of life, and then, unexpectedly, in the right setting, at the right time, He answers. Sometimes in a whisper, other times loudly.

As I sit on the bank in prayer, He waits with me. I remember the pond, my labrador, the beauty of the changing seasons, the majestic elk, and most of all, the joy of the unexpected. It, as with the beavers, was there all the time.

The timing was the answer.

Wait on Him. His answer is never late in coming.

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