There is one experience that I am convinced will either cause one to lose their religion or elevate one to sainthood status. That is the experience of going to the local DMV. My experience many years ago tested those extremes. My simple task was to retitle my daughter’s car in her name rather than jointly in both of our names. I had gone to a great effort calling the DMV to find out all necessary steps (my daughter lived in another state at the time), including getting a Power of Attorney so that I could act on her behalf. I arrived at the DMV, spent about 15 minutes trying to find a parking place, and then stood in a line that resembled an Apple store line on an iPhone launch day. I patiently waited in line forever, only to get to the front of the line and be told that I missed one place for her signature and could not proceed. I walked out fuming about the wasted hour that I would never recover. 

Then I had a strange thought. I can afford to waste an hour because I have an eternity of hours ahead of me. I operate as if I have to make the most of every hour of every day without a wasted moment. This creates a perpetual impatience because the world does not always share my drivenness. Through the eyes of eternity, I can relax and quell my frustrations when my day is not as productive as I would like.

Then an even stranger thought crossed my mind. Is it possible that my most “productive” hour on this day in eternity’s eyes was this hour at the DMV when patience was being grown in the soil of frustration? I imagine that the economy of God is very different from ours. We measure our days in dollars saved, tasks accomplished, progress accelerated. God looks at the heart and values the slow-growing seed of character. He encourages us to do the same. Every time impatience rears its head, every time we get frustrated with those around us, we have the opportunity to look with eternal eyes and see the important work God is opening up before us. Whether it is ten years from now or ten thousand years from now, the frustration of a wasted hour will mean nothing. But the fruit coming from maturing character will continue to blossom.

God has all the time in the world. We do too! Maybe being “productive” with our time looks different to God then it does to us. Armed with these alien thoughts, I relaxed a little, snuffed out the fumes slightly, and proceeded home to resume my productive day.