Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” - Acts 1:6-7 (NIV)
I spent much of 1982 depressed. I had taken a new call the previous year, moved our family 2,500 miles, and thrown myself into my new ministry. But as I began year two at that church, I felt overwhelmed and hollowed out from within.
In hindsight (always, as you know, 20/20) I think it had something to do with what Jesus refers as “times and dates” that “aren’t yours to know.”
I had my schedule for when stuff was supposed to happen, when seeds were to have sprouted and grown and be ready for harvest. I was on an Insta-Pot schedule. But God had a different, more of a slow cooker, timeline.
When things didn’t happen according to my schedule and expectations (expectations of which I was only vaguely aware), I got angry (not very aware of that either). I directed that anger at myself (more or less clueless again). Result: a long night of the soul.
Now, many years later, I’ve come to the conclusion that about the only thing that happens fast are accidents. Most everything else happens slowly, especially change in our lives and our churches. I’ve come to think of myself as part of the “slow-church” movement.
But really I’ve come to think of myself as someone who knows, at least a little, that God has God’s own time and schedule. My job is to do my job and let God be God.
Let me, O Lord, let you be God. Yours is a big job, way beyond my pay grade. But help me to be the me you have called me to be. Amen.
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. His newest book, Useful Wisdom: Letter to Young (and Not So Young) Ministers will be published early next year by Wipf and Stock. You can read and sign up for his blog at www.anthonybrobinson.com.