Way back when when I was in seminary the first sermon I had to give for a grade in preaching class was on these verses from Peter’s second letter (you remember Peter, he’s the fisherman formerly known as Simon who when Jesus said “follow me” he dropped his fishing nets and followed and then Jesus changed his name):
If we look at what Peter writes before this section, he is addressing people dear to him whom he feels are growing skeptical in their faith, questioning God’s abilities because God wasn’t doing what they expected. Peter is wanting to keep them focused on the long game, reminding them that just because we don’t see God doing what we’d do or what we’d expect God to do doesn’t mean that God has forgotten the promise to set all things in proper order or ignoring our cries to smite those with whom we disagree.
Quite the contrary. It is precisely because of God’s love for us, for every human being the ever was, is, and will be (yep, even that person) that God gives us the gift of time. Time to discover who God is and who we are as God’s beloved children. It’s a lifelong journey and it doesn’t matter when you begin or when (or how often) you choose to resume The Way if you’ve spent some time on another path.
So much in this world tries to convince us that we have to encapsulate each experience into 150 words1 or a single picture or a single, pithy phrase. I don’t think that’s how God wants us to experience this amazing abundance of life God created us for.
Now, I’m not just saying all this to justify my wordiness. I’ve been trying out the 150 word thing and it just doesn’t feel authentic. So, I’d like to offer this for all of us to consider: perhaps one of the causes of all of our collective stress and anxiety is because we are trying to force fit the life God wants for us into a container not designed to hold it. What if we all poured ourselves another cup of coffee and sat with that thought for a few minutes? Would it ruin the rhythm of your day or reset it? Please, take as many words as you need to let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
1Supposedly, according to the latest research, people won’t read anything over 150 words. Personally, that statement makes me say, “let’s all stop being a statistic and live life as God intends for us to.” I may lose out on some followers because I’m too wordy, but there’s plenty of folks who can reduce life down to a few sentences. That isn’t apparently my strength. And if you are still reading this, thank you. Your endurance and commitment mean the world to me.