God owns the speedometer.
Occasionally, I forget that God created time. We may have placed the structure around it, with words like “hours” and “weeks” but he knit the very fabric of what is morning and night. And as the creator, he knows better than anyone, how to use it. He knows how to expand it or constrict it or bend it around his will. Have you ever thought about that? God could make a single day feel like twenty or a year feel like an hour. He is not limited by the constraints of a calendar day or what can reasonably fit within a workweek. He owns time. It’s his responsibility to do with it what he will, a thought I am increasingly finding comfort in.
I believe that ultimately there is nothing I can do that is going to change or prevent God from doing what he wants to do. There’s not an action or work he’s waiting on from me that will be the key that opens his handcuffs. His wrists are unbound. No rope or nail can hold him still any longer. He is not awaiting my deed to set him free to be powerful and allow him to move with mysterious love. He does so because that’s who he is, that is his character.
His will is not helped or hampered by my efforts.
He does not need my permission to unleash his power.
He does not need my participation to complete his plan.
He invites me to take part, but regardless of if I accept the call, regardless of if I move a single inch, his story marches on. His power and love and story move forward. All I can do is accept the invitation. Run, wait, sit still, change jobs, it doesn’t matter.
All I have to do is accept the invitation and when I do, I get to see the wisdom and gentleness he uses to guide my steps. In Exodus 13: 17-18 we get a glimpse of this:
17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.
God knew the Israelites weren’t ready for a war so soon in their journey. Even though the Bible makes a point of saying they were “armed for battle,” God knew the consequences of a skirmish with the Philistine would be devastating. He could see further down the road than they could so he took them what felt like the long way. He did what was best for them.
I don’t like taking the long way. I generally prefer the “right now” road, but God doesn’t seem to care for that one very much. I used to think that God only had two speeds, 0 or 100 mph. When I’d look at people I admire or were doing what I wanted to do in life, Rob Bell, Jarrett Stevens, Donald Miller etc., I’d feel that they were going 100 mph and probably got there in 30 seconds or so. And if my life didn’t go from 0-100 in 30 seconds I was doing something wrong.
I don’t think that anymore, or I think it less. Now I think God likes 6 mph and 10 mph moments. He likes to teach us new things at 17 mph and pick us back up if 56 mph feels too fast and we fall down. He likes to slowly shape us and make sure we’re ready before he leads us through Philistine country. And that’s ultimately his responsibility not mine. I just have to accept the invitation. And there’s wonderful peace in taking your foot of the gas pedal.