In the small book Children’s Letters to God, a child named Harriet Anne asks God a big question: “Are you real? Some people don’t believe it. If you are, you better do something quick.”
This may be the best remedy Harriet Ann can fathom for getting people, who are probably a few decades older than she is, to believe in the God she believes in. She wants God to “do something.” And quick!
What miraculous event does God need to enact to turn people’s eyes to the Almighty? Does it need to be powerful and glorious? Does God need to orchestrate the moon and the stars and the clouds into some kind of miraculous show? Does this need to be played out on a big stage, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven (v. 27)?
Does God need to spread a picnic before every hungry family? Does God need to install air conditioners in all the detention centers along the border? Does God need to bless us all with the ability to speak multiple languages with ease, endowed by Pentecost power? Does God need to cure all of the people in hospitals? If God listens to Harriet Ann, will God do something “quick” to save people from suffering?
Our church is in another interim season when things seem to happen at a snail’s pace. We get caught up in questions like, “Why haven’t we named a search committee yet?” I find myself turning to the beautiful words of Teilhard de Chardin: “Above all, trust in the slow work of God.” Human nature seems naturally impatient. We want to reach our destination without delay and skip the intermediate stages because we don’t enjoy being on our way to something unknown, something new. We pray our own version of Harriet Ann’s letter all the time.
When have you felt impatient concerning events in your life? How have you known that God is real in the times when you have needed to wait?
God, you seem to favor slow work, yet you are with us even in our fast-paced lives. Thank you for lending us your patience when we must wait. Help us receive the signs of your presence at whatever time you send them. Amen.