Above all, trust in the slow work of God

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God.”

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.”

These opening sentences are part of a prayer by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit, Palaeontologist, Philosopher, and Visionary (1881-1955). I was given a copy of this prayer in 2015 when I was on a silent retreat at Storrington Priory, it is now fixed on my office wall as a constant reminder to me to trust in God and to be PATIENT.

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.

For seven months I’ve been waiting for something. You probably know what it’s like. You’ve waited, too, a final diagnosis, a yes or no, a call back, an offer, word on that promotion or potential adoption. Waiting to become pregnant. Waiting for your children to grow up. Waiting for retirement. Waiting.

It seems like the waiting never ends. There’s always something just beyond our grasp. Maybe this is what it means to be fully alive, always in search of something.

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
will make of you tomorrow.

So for what it’s worth, I want to share with you this morning what this prayer has taught me, and in turn what I hope it will teach us all. It’s simple really; the journey of waiting is actually more powerful and meaningful than the final destination. I find that in the waiting I discover more about myself and about God’s unconditional love for me as an individual. In the waiting I learn to “accept the anxiety of feeling in suspense and incomplete” which actually enables “a new spirit to gradually form within”. Of course the feeling of being incomplete and in suspense is countercultural today, we strive to have everything in our lives orderly and all sown up. But here’s the challenge maybe we are not meant to be this way.  How about embracing the waiting and allowing God to help us discover the amazing riches that are often hidden in the depths of our soul. Today why not try “Above all, trust in the slow work of God.”

(Italicized words Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)