That’s how long the average person will now wait for a page or image to load online before they will click away to another site.
This measure is less than one-thousandth of a second (perspective: the proverbial ‘blink of an eye” is 400 milliseconds), and is now the standard internet companies must now meet. Why? The slower a web site downloads, the less often it will be visited. Users will simply not hang around waiting for a page to load.
Tim Leighton, MIT professor “users’ expectations are getting shorter and shorter”. A NY Times article noted “The need for speed itself seems to be accelerating.” When the Internet began, the goal was for a page to show up was 10 seconds. By 2006, expectations for a page load were 4 seconds. “In 2009, a study by Forrester Research found that online shoppers expected pages to load in two seconds or fewer — and at three seconds, a large share abandon the site.
Less than three years later, the wait time is 250 milliseconds.
And it’s not just the internet. In another recent study, psycholinguist Jos Van Berkum of the Max Planck Institute found that the brains of volunteers lit up quickly after reading a statement they disagreed with. How quickly? Oh, about 250 milliseconds… which is how long you have to persuade a person to consider a position on anything from politics to the environment to spiritual truth.
There is an incessant, almost insane demand for speed.
Has anybody stopped to wonder what it is doing to us? What is it doing to our families? What is it doing to our souls?
Consider…the best things, some wonderful things, some profoundly God things only happen over time:
+ rich and deep relationships between friends
+ marriages that last with faithfulness through many years
+ beauty created in a corner of a room or with a song or on a canvas
+ meals planned and enjoyed together
+ injustice, like human trafficking, crumbling before right
+ buds planted one fall coming up the next spring… and the one after that
+ raising children who will laugh, cry, pray and serve
+ breaking the chains of an addiction
+ changing a long-engrained life pattern.
It goes to another place for those who trust and want to follow Christ as a disciple. Becoming a disciple cannot happen in 250 millisecond bursts of devotion…or by working through a fill-in-the-blank manual or watching a series of video talks…or with a broad range of church activities.
Consider…the most precious aspects of life as a disciple of Jesus Christ only develop over time:
+ prayer that listens to and talks with the heavenly Father
+ seeing the Word as revealing God’s heart, truth and purposes
+ faith – humble, ruthless confidence in Jesus — as a default for life
+ enjoying gospel acceptance by grace and not performance
+ humble honesty about one’s constant, desperate need for Jesus
+ a deepening character that increasingly resembles Jesus
+ courageously engaging personal risk to advance the Kingdom
+ tenderness towards the least, last, lost & left-out
+ stewardship of life & resources in the pursuit of disciple-making
+ reconciliation and forgiveness in response to offense.
+ incongruous joy in the face of trials and hope in a hellish world
Add to that the constant plea of the Bible that at least one aspect of faith is waiting on God. God has a good plan and redemptive purposes that unfold in His time and place, so we hear:
+Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. (Ps. 25:5)
+ Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! (Ps. 27:14)
+ Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him….(Ps. 37:7)
+ I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope (Ps. 130:5)
+ Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. (Ps. 62:5)
+ they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Is. 40:31)
+The Lord is good to those who wait for him to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. (Lam 3:25-16)
So, waiting is an expression of faith in God. Faith grows in the waiting. Knowing God comes in the waiting. Confidence in God’s Word comes in the waiting. Strength, hope and courage are found in the waiting.
No waiting means none of those things develop or are known. No waiting or impatience with God’s process of spiritual formation means souls are stunted.
The hymnwriter had it right:
“Have faith in God when your prayers are unanswered;
Your earnest plea He will never forget;
Wait on the Lord, trust His Word and be patient;
Have faith in God, He’ll answer yet.
It will take a lot more than 250 milliseconds for Our Father’s purposes to be realized, but no matter how long we wait, it will be worth it.