Tuesday, May 18, 2010


A new road is being cut through rolling farmland at the edge of town. We have been watching the progress at 25 mph. But today there were two giant excavators near the road and so we parked and sat down on the curb to watch. All were mesmerized by the size and power of the yellow beasts with monster claws, systematically digging, arrogantly erasing the place of the tall grasses, scoop by scoop. Dump trucks lined up to accept the earth and transport it on eight wheels somewhere else. There was a process, which became clear to us bystanders in retrospect. Teamwork, movement, and smoke.

Since we only drive by periodically, it seemed like the yellow giants had cut away the hill with great speed. And in the context of time and the years, maybe centuries, that it took to build that hill out of glacial silt and traveling dust, the progress was indeed shocking. But as I sat and watched one thing became clear. Even though the machines were Herculean and complicated, they still moved the dirt one scoop at a time. Even giant excavators are bound, like the rest of us, to the physical realities of matter, time and space. There is no short cut for moving a hill a mile. Christ understood this as he was saying goodbye to the twelve and explaining their need for the Holy Spirit. He told them that all he had to give would bend and crush them. That time and the Counselor were needed. That it would take a lifetime to learn what he was ready and willing to teach.

And so I asked for patience. For myself. With my children. And set myself down again, squarely in the middle of the process.

“I have more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” John 16:12

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