See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them.
God moves too slowly. Let’s admit it. It took the people of Israel 40 years in the desert to find the promised land. It (apparently) took Jesus 30 years of living before doing anything noteworthy except being born and then forgetting to head home from a road trip with his parents when he was a kid. Nobody ever talks about what Mary might have been thinking when Jesus was 28 and hadn’t made much of his life yet...
But eventually, the right time came. And it couldn’t have worked any other way. If love is patient, and God is Love, then I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that Jesus tends to walk slowly and deliberately in the Scriptures, rarely seeming to be in a hurry.
My whole family loves hiking. But I’ll admit, my natural hiking tendency is to GET PLACES.What’s our destination? Great! I sure hope there’s a view at the end. And what’s the shortest amount of time we can get there in? Let’s haul! That makes it even better.
My wife brings a different mentality into hiking. She is the flower noticer, and the one who always catches the unique shape of trees. I usually like beauty on the go. She likes to ponder a bit more. Over Thanksgiving we were on a chilly hike and my daughter, who apparently takes after her mom, squatted down to notice something that we all missed- frozen mud that had formed "needle ice". Sometimes we need to slow down our pace to notice what’s forming around us.
We are about to enter into the 4 week season of Advent. Advent is a time of waiting and watching. It’s a time of looking around, noticing things we might not normally notice. It’s a time to realize that when God does something, it often takes a while to develop. In fact, we may miss it altogether because we’re either in such a hurry, or we’re only looking for the great view of the angelic choir in the sky.
Japanese theologian Kosuke Koyama, in his book Three Mile An Hour God, suggests that God moves at the speed of walking, because this is the only speed of love.
"God walks ‘slowly’ because He is love. If He is not love He would have gone much faster. Love has its own speed. It is an inner speed. It is a spiritual speed. It is a different speed from the technological speed to which we are accustomed…It goes on in the depth of our life, whether we notice or not, whether we are currently hit by a storm or not, at three miles an hour. It is the speed we walk and therefore it is the speed the love of God walks."
Like every year, the coming month will have many opportunities for joy and celebration with Jesus… but also for busyness and soul-sucking stress.
Our fast paced world needs people moving slowly enough to notice the tears and sit with those who shed them. We need people who can tell stories around a table. We need people who can look around and remain grounded when the earth is shaking. We need people who are willing to walk beside Jesus, not attempt to outsprint him. So whether you have a schedule packed full of to-do’s, or your holiday is quiet and still, take a moment and invite God to help your spirit move at the relaxed pace of His love this month.
Jesus, slow me down to notice the streams forming in the wastelands and your presence with me on the road.