Humans are essentially future beings, driven and guided by hopes and dreams, all impacting on our present choices. As a child, I longed for the adult years, with their attractive freedoms and opportunities which were denied youth. I looked to the future with starry eyes, believing that there were great things to come, and towards which I focussed my efforts. They were often accompanied with a measure of impatience, bringing me to such “adult” endeavours as smoking and driving, well before my years allowed me legal access to such things. Such impatience can often destroy futures, as tragic tales have too often revealed.
For some, this sense of urgency pervades almost every aspect of life. And it is fed in such a variety of ways – lose weight quickly, get rich quickly, 40 days to health and fitness… the promise of a quick turnaround to our fortunes invites to buy into the notion that speed is best, and that failure to act quickly and decisively is the fundamental human sin.
The spiritual world has been awash with such haste also, with promises of quick holiness and powerful spirituality implicit in such movements as the Toronto Blessing and the charismatic world. “If only one is filled with the Spirit…” so the story goes in a variety of nuances, and we are invited into another round of conferences, small group programs and worship experiences which purport to solve our present crises with immediacy – and minimal pain. All the time inviting us into a future without problems, obtained without struggle, and inherited without patience or perseverance.
well to remind ourselves that the most beautiful aspects of creation were
formed through patient perseverance over long spans of time. Wave and wind
have shaped rock faces, rivers and glaciers have carved spectacular valleys,
diamonds have been formed under intense pressure over a long time, and
pearls formed out lengthy endurance of a small irritant in an oyster. Those
changes which have come quickly have been destructive: earthquakes, cyclones,
tsunamis, sparing only those aspects which have deep root or strong bond
formed over much time.
Patience. Persistence. Time. These things are the enemies of immediacy, but the friend of depth and beauty. A patience nourished by the promise that God’s kingdom is near at hand (Phil 4:5)
Solomon warned us that the (human) race is not to the swift (Eccl 9) but to the wise, a gift that is found through patient search (Prov 2). Slow down. The loss which speed generates could be greater than you realise.
May 21, 2006