A Musing Pastor
God: "Wait!" Me: "Nah, I Got This."
(Sunrise over Mifflin County, 2020)
I have been labeled by some as an aggressive driver. I could say that God made me that way and that would be a lie. I could say that I have assertive driving tendencies that are heightened by a clear sense of awareness and so I appear to be aggressive. That is a word-salad that really says, "I'm an aggressive driver with blinders on."
Sometimes my abnormalities overcome my ability to stand firm in my faith. Do you struggle with one or more issues that hamstring your faith? It's okay to admit this. Admission of sin is the path to repentance and restoration. Perhaps the most glaring issue I wrestle with is impatience. Independent from childhood, I've always jumped forward without measuring or considering the outcome. In some cases, my spontaneity has born much good fruit and in other cases I've ended up with egg on my face. God's plan always seems to take too long to develop and so I push the envelope of waiting. I'm not alone. Take a look at Abram and Sarai in Genesis 16.
Hagar and Ishmael
"Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.” (Genesis 16:1-5, NIV)
Notice how impatience to wait upon the Lord was used as the rationale to force a new plan into place. Sarai, not willing to wait and bold enough to place the onus on God being slow to act decided to hatch a plan. I can totally relate to this thinking and have been the one saying, "The Lord hasn't done ________".
A review of history will always reveal a pattern of humanity running blindly forward into bad choices instead of waiting and relying upon God's perfect plan and timing. Therein lies the enemy of my heart and mind, impatience. I'm presuming I'm not alone in the impatience critical care unit. Hey friend, welcome.
Lately, I've begun to breathe more slowly and deeply while driving. I've begun to care less about infractions of other drivers and am being more cognizant of my own imperfections. Amazing how many times I've had to stab my own liver while driving. In seeking patience and investing this foreign manner into my thinking, I've noted something interesting occurring.
Previously, while implementing a heightened awareness while driving, my MPG was lower than the vehicle is listed (My thought was, "It probably needs tuned up a bit."). Since this new calm nature has risen to the surface of my brain, I've noted an increase of 5 MPG to the overall performance of my vehicle. You say, "Big deal!' I say, "In this season of high fuel prices, it IS a big deal. With a 36-gallon tank in my truck, that equals out to an additional 180 miles of possible travel!
In the long run, I'm unsure if God is impressed with an additional 180 MPG for my travel. I'm certain God is more blessed by this new perspective of living. Waiting for things to unfold isn't the way my environment taught me to interact with the world, but it is the way God originally designed me. Waiting and slowing down is definitely better for me and for those around me.
And now, the rest of the story:
Sarai's impatience and test of God produced a competition between two brothers and clans that exists even till today. The tensions have never waned over several thousand years. While God 's plan is offered, God will allow us to choose our own path much to our own demise. That is free-will. That is God. For those who adhere to the First Commandment and keep God at the center, life is filled with waiting, trusting, believing, and flourishing. That is the essence of faith. The next time God says, "Wait!" I'm willing to say, "Okay, I'll trust your plan over mine." How about you?
"A Musing Pastor"