While driving one day through town I noticed a sign posted on the outside of church. It said,
“Drive thru nativity”
Which translates to me: Five minutes of Jesus to come and check him out and see what He is all about. In a lot a ways I am thankful that people will be exposed to Jesus through this demonstration but I wonder if we have watered down the gospel so much so that it looks similar to the world in which we live. Instant starbucks, fast food drive thru’s and if anyone has to wait in a line somewhere whether it’s out a restaurant or to buy presents people are in an up-roar. It comes from this sense of entitlement. It sends this message of my time is more important than someone else’s, so hurry up and get on with it. I was a little taken back at the idea that church gives off a parallel idea to this instant world.
But that is how we are. We want instant, we want what we want right now and sometimes we compromise for what our hearts actually desire because something that seems like an okay idea is presented right in front of our face. We compromise and we settle and only end up hurting ourselves and the lives of others. Often the instant doesn’t follow through with the promise it claims to have. For example five minutes of the gospel robs us from the entirety of the message of Christmas, after eating fast food we feel heavy, greasy, and guilty, and we stand in line for hours for presents that we forget about in a month’s time. Everything is instant and cheap.
If we approach life in such a way we will approach God in the same manner. When we desire instant from life we desire instant from God. I am convinced though that God is not the God of instant. This is a countercultural thought from the world in which we find ourselves existing in. We get so caught up in getting from point A to point B in the fastest time possible. When you consider God in this equation, you will find that He is more interested in working out your character than He is you getting to your desired destination. And when our character comes into the focus we end up at the destination point being the people He destined us to be.
When I drove to West Palm Beach for a weekend to visit with family, it would have been so easy to drive across the state in just a couple hours of time. What I needed to do though was to go south and make a few stops, then drive across and then back up. It ended up taking almost double the time. The Lord really spoke to me in this time. It says in Ecclesiastes that God makes everything beautiful in His own timing. How often does our timing and God does’s timing line up? What I learned on this drive was to just enjoy it. Enjoy the stops. Enjoy the divine detours. Sometimes you can be re directed due to bad accidents on the road and you end up going in a completely different direction from you initially intended. Sometimes cars blow flat tires and you have to stop or sometimes you end up just plain lost and then you find your way back on track. I desired to take the time to not miss out on anything that came in my viewing range during this drive. It caused a stirring in my heart and an attitude of praise. I would have missed this message entirely if I had just done the easy straight shot from point A to B.
I am trying to translate this drive to my life. What I am learning about currently is this idea that God speaks promises over our lives of the plans He has for us. But He doesn’t need my help through self reliance to fulfill the promise. And when we try to get where we are to be going in our own strength it always ends in chaos and self destruction. It’s a tug of war in the heart and in the spirit. God doesn’t need my help in fulfilling the promise. He just calls me to walk with him and He will get me where I need to go, becoming a person that looks more like His son. I don’t want to be someone where my gifting outweighs my character. I believe when this happens it can be a disastrous ending.
Sometimes God will re direct you. Sometimes we will blow a flat and that will cause us to stop, pause and reflect. When we keep driving with a flat it causes damage to the entire car which makes everything harder to fix. Sometimes we get lost but we find our way back on track. Sometimes the destination is neither what you had planned nor what was in store. But when God is the one directing the path, we end in a better place that what we could ever plan for ourselves. It’s not without pain, it’s not without confusion and it requires a trust that He will make it all work out in the end.
Let’s try to be a people that disengage with the instant and embrace the process that we are all in.