My goal as a Christian is to become like a ‘little Christ’ in the world, as my new favourite person, C.S. Lewis, writes in Mere Christianity.
The problem is that I’m very impatient and want to be in control.
Even though I know (theoretically) that faith is a complex, challenging and long journey that requires absolute trust in God, deep down I still believe I can rush ahead by myself.
And why not? I can do that with everything else in my life. Gratification of all my earthly desires is available to me with virtually no barriers. Throughout my day, I am constantly reminded that I can be who I want, do what I want and have what I want, whenever I want it. And on top of that, I deserve it. This week alone, I ordered ramen to my door in less than 20 minutes, bought essential oils from Amazon from the comfort of my bed, and pre-ordered coffee from Starbucks so that it was ready by the time I took the elevator down to the first floor of my condo. (Because obviously the already hyper-efficient Starbucks process was too slow for me.)
I want my faith to operate in the same way. Instantly accomplished, according to my liking.
On Monday, I was feeling particularly impatient and petitioned God to move more quickly. Then I noticed this prayer by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin that Andrew put on our fridge. It had been there since Ash Wednesday – the day we left for Israel more than nine months ago – but for some reason I didn’t read it until that moment.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.
French Jesuit philosopher and scientist, 1881 – 1955
If you want to know more about this man, read about him on Wikipedia.