There was one phrase my kids used to use all the time when they were little and I could guarantee it would drive me nuts every time I heard it “are we nearly there yet!”
Every parent has heard it.
You are going out for a nice day. You have packed the picnic, the first aid kit, the road maps, the alternatives in case of rain, the alternatives in case of closures, the games to play en-route. It would be simpler taking the British Army on full scale military manoeuvres than the kids out for the day.
With the kids strapped in, you start to reverse off the drive and that whinging voice begins in the back ;
“Are we nearly there yet!”
It seems to me that speed and hurry are encouraged in our lives from a very early age.
We prize speed. There is a land speed record. Gold medals are awarded to the fastest athletes. If you finish this job quickly, you can get onto something much nicer! Eat your dinner quickly, you can have pudding.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced in my spiritual journey is learning to slow down and to trust in the slow work of God. I am not claiming perfection in this! God has to frequently remind me that my ways and His ways are not always the same. Sometimes, God needs to pull me back and remind me that I have to;
Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”
(Psalm 46 vs. 10 – The Message)
He had to do that this morning.
I came into the office, I saw the mountains of papers that were covering my desk. I thought “I don’t have time to spend long in prayer, I will have to be quick”. I grabbed my Bible, read a short passage said a quick prayer and got on with the work. As I started to sort my in tray I found a copy of a poem by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin called Patient Trust;
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,
I left the in tray.
Picked up my Bible
and I spent some time doing the most important thing of all, I sat aware of the loving presence of God