They tell me that moving house is one of life’s most stressful events and I, for one am inclined to believe them. I moved house six months ago and am still recovering from the ordeal. It’s not just the emotional rollercoaster of leaving a place you’ve called home for (in our case) 13 years, but the fact that you can’t allow yourself to get too attached to the new place, in case it falls through at the last minute. Yet at the same time you have to allow yourself to fall in love with the new house just enough to be ok with the fact that you’re about to enter into a huge financial transaction. And being willing to do this despite the fact that you’ve only seen it once, in the dark, just about tops it off- I’ve spent longer deliberating over a new pair of jeans!
Then there’s the actual move- it’s truly horrid. Thirteen years of junk to sort through and my full time job and leadership responsibilities allowing me no time at all to do this. I remember one particular day feeling totally overwhelmed sitting in my son’s bedroom surrounded by random items of chaos, desperately wishing I could skip this bit and be surrounded by the new instead of trapped by the old.
It was in that moment of wishing the process away that I picked up an old children’s book called ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen and, like all the most memorable children’s books the story has a recurring rhyme:
We’re going on a bear hunt,
We’re going to catch a big one,
What a beautiful day,
We’re not scared.
Oh oh! A river,
A deep, cold river.
We can’t go over it,
We can’t go under it,
We’ve got to go through it…
Holding that little children’s book in my hands and reading the story, I felt tears stream down my face. I was surrounded by chaos. I was tired; frustrated by the constant obstacles in my way and wishing with all my heart that I could close my eyes, click my heels three times and be transported by some strange magic into the new season of my life. I wanted to bypass the process. I wanted to go on a bear hunt but I didn’t want to get my feet wet. It was then that I felt the whisper of God to my heart: “You can’t go over it, you can’t go under it, you have to go through it. You have to go through, to get to.’
Maybe you are facing a mountain of debt, or have suffered the death of a loved one and the grief seems insurmountable. Maybe your children are far from God or you have had your heart broken and desperately want to move forward, but you don’t know how. Whatever it may be, the likelihood is that your breakthrough, your miracle, will not be an event- it will be a process.
I firmly believe that God is very much in favour of process. He chose to create the heavens and the earth and all that is within it over the course of seven days – a process. There’s no reason why He couldn’t have done it in one go. He could’ve spoken creation’s existence into being with one all-encompassing word, but He didn’t. He embraced the process, took His time, allowed the very essence of process to be weaved into the very essence of our existence.
Everywhere we look there is process, but so often we resent it or try to avoid it by finding short-cuts to our destination. We are increasingly surrounded by quick-fix, instant results, same-day delivery solutions to whatever our problem is, which only serves to feed our impatience, our longing for an instant breakthrough.
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