A lot of devotionals today give advice on how to fit God into our busy lives. With such hectic schedules it truly is a challenge to “make time” for spiritual things. We try to systematize discipleship and devotion into something efficient and streamlined so as to get the maximum return for our time.
But the more I think about it, I am growing convinced that we have it backwards. God’s processes are not instant or quick. In fact, sometimes they seem quite inefficient. Instead, His molding and shaping is a life-long process, and His hand works in slow, steady ways that would be easy to overlook if we are moving too quickly.
The fact is that while the human pace of life has increased drastically in the past 100 years or so, God remains unchanged.
And I wonder if we’ve missed the boat by trying to cram God into our busy lives, instead of adjusting our lives to accommodate the ways of God.
I am reminded of the story of Elijah up on Mount Horeb, waiting for the Lord to appear. (1 Kings 19:11–13) First a tornado came by, then an earthquake, then a fire. But God was not in any of those things. Instead, a “gentle whisper” (NIV) or a “gentle blowing” (NASB) indicated the arrival of the Lord of the Universe. The Hebrew word actually denotes silence or stillness.
Similarly, the Hebrew word for Spirit also indicates breath or wind. This makes Jesus’ comparison of the Spirit to the wind in John 3 a delightful play on words and food for deeper thought.
Although God sometimes moves in dramatic, earth-shattering ways, His Spirit is more likely to come to us as a whisper, a breath, a gentle wind. If we are constantly running, making our own “wind” as it were, we are likely to miss the gentle moving of our God in our lives and in this world.
Throughout the centuries people have followed Christ at great personal cost, as discipleship demanded that they often lived out of step with the rest of society. Could it be that in this generation, the sacrifice we are being asked to make is to slow down and still ourselves? Are we willing to radically alter our lives in order to become more aware of the gentle, quiet Breath of God?