All in Time

I once heard a joke that went something like this…

“A man was taking it easy, lying on the grass and looking up at the clouds.  He was identifying shapes when he decided to talk to God.  “God,” he said, “how long is a million years?”

God answered, “In my frame of reference, it’s about a minute.”

The man thought for a moment and then asked, “God, how much is a million dollars?”

God answered, “Well to ME, it’s just a penny.”

With this, the man thought a moment longer.  Finally he asked, “God, can I have a penny?”

God answered, “In a minute.” ”(Alpha Jokes)

I don’t generally like Christian humour because it rivals dad jokes for the place of cheesiness. But for some reason this joke struck me years ago because I have always struggled with the idea of time and eternity. Patience I have always lacked. And a keen understanding of God’s timing has always evaded me.

As I sit looking out a window at snow flakes gently cascading across copper Maple trees, backed by a grey, wintry sky, I am struck by God’s timing. It strikes me that God’s handiwork is imprinted on all of creation, that the days, the weeks, the seasons, and the years all reflect God’s care for creation and a brilliant spiritual rhythm: hearts pounding—the drumbeats of life, leaves rustling—a reminder of change and impermanence, sun rising and setting—the visual cadence of liveliness and rest.

When I become impatient, all I have to do is walk outside to remember that my grasping for control of my life patterns is both futile and counterproductive. Surrendering to the sovereignty of God’s timing will happen whether I do so willingly or not. The seasons change: the trees change from green, to red, to orange, to copper, then the leaves die and fall, to make way for dormancy, then new life.

A few years ago an ice and snow storm hit while the leaves were still green on the trees.  The sheer weight of winter and fall colliding brought whole trees to the ground. There is a proper pace to the seasons.

There is a proper pace to grace. We go through seasons of change, and sometimes parts of us must fall away, must be removed, in order that new life may come through.

So what can we do but surrender to the pace of life we were meant to live? We can fight it! Surely I have, and continue to daily. But if God has taught me anything by being on maternity leave, it is to live in the moment and to live in God’s time. Children have this capacity, but we lose it so easily in the movements of this world, the verbal and visual cacophony of unquieted hustle and bustle!

I am reminded of the way I am meant to live in Matthew 11. The Message version of this passage presents a beautiful way of looking at Jesus’ words…

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

…let us live in the “unforced rhythms of grace.”

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