I was looking at the quote below about the desert, which begins with the words, "In the desert the most urgent thing is -- to wait." I suppose that's one of the (no doubt many) reasons why forty days are ascribed to Jesus' sojourn there. You can't just finish your task, brush your hands off on your jeans, and move on. At any rate, it occurred to me to post one of my favorite prayers in response. On my other blog, I've called it the Grand Canyon prayer. I used it a lot when I was making seminary-related decisons, and one day I completely cracked up as I recalled that its author was a geologist. His idea of "the slow work of God" was a good deal more expansive than mine!
Today, of course, the years I spent on ministry discernment seem but the tiniest drop of time in a bucket compared to the time and intensity demanded by this particular desert. The Colorado River's eons of imperceptible incursion into rock seems an apt parallel.
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,
Yet it is the law of all progress that is made
by passing through some stages of instability
and that 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.
Do not try to force them on
as though you could be today what time
-- that is to say, grace --
acting on your own good will
will make you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new Spirit
gradually forming in 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.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God,
our loving vine-dresser.
~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.