Eric Youngblood: The Snail’s Pace of God

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - by Eric Youngblood

We “lost” an hour on early Sunday morning. 

Suddenly, a whole hour evaporated, without our having  accomplished a thing. Fortuitously though, it occurred during our sleep, that leisurely period God has embedded into our being to reassure us that we are neither Him nor  machines. Because we forget both. 

“I Don’t Like the Man Who Doesn’t Sleep, says God...”
Poet Charles Peguy thought it through:

“I don’t like the man who doesn’t sleep, says God.


I'm talking about those who work and who don't sleep. 

I pity them. I hold it against them. A bit. They don't trust me. 

As a child lays innocently in his mother's arms, thus they do not lay.
Innocently in the arms of my Providence. 

They have the courage to work. They don't have the courage to do nothing. 

They possess the virtue of work. They don't possess the virtue of doing nothing.
Of relaxing. Of resting. Of sleeping.
Unhappy people, they don't know what's good.”

I frequently find myself dashing to address needs, to accomplish what I conclude is being asked of me, and feeling a failure for all I know I didn’t get to in a day. 

There’s Enough Time!
I was praying to the Lord about it, and it seemed like he might have said:

“There is enough time.

Just not enough to impress everyone you’re afraid to let down. 

Or to do everything YOU conclude is urgent. 

Or to compulsively ward off every worry.

Or to keep everyone equally happy. 

But there is just enough time to do that to which I have called you. The perfect amount.” 

Since Spring has robbed its first hour and promises to swipe many more over the coming months of increased daylight and increased franticness, I wanted to remind myself and all of us that, “As God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared in advance for us to do” there’ll be the exact amount of time for us to walk as Christ has aspired for us too...

We just might need to adjust some of our expectations about how many things we can do in a day or how many places we can be at once. And we’ll certainly have to tell the compulsive scheduler and list-maker in our heads to pipe down for a moment, so we can see if God has any alternative plans for us in the world today.

Preventing Hyperventilation
Watching this lovely little documentary called “Godspeed” last week was helpful in preventing hyperventilation as I fussed in my mind over all the folks I hadn’t been able to call yet, or haven’t visited in a while. It whispered a lullaby soothing over the wailing noise of all the tasks that I hadn’t yet been able to perform but which boisterously stood like a booing, picketing audience, protesting against my effectiveness, efficiency, and competency at every moment.

One line, in particular, employing Kosuke Koyama’s clever and memorable book title, leapt off the screen: 

“Jesus was a ‘3 Mile An Hour God.’” 

Meaning, that when God became flesh, he performed the lion’s share of his ministry in small villages with statistically insignificant amounts of people among whom he walked...and of course, the average leisurely amble is about 3 mph.
NT Wright, reflecting on this oft-neglected pace of Christ, chimed in with an apt diagnosis, “perhaps that is why we get so frustrated with God sometimes. He doesn’t move fast enough!”

It’s instructive to think about our Lord, who holds the last word in human affairs and for whose sake we live and work, allowed his life to be spent in a small place, moving 3 mph, and yet apparently, had all the time he needed to be the world’s rescue. 

Perhaps as those united to him, we can entrust ourselves to a pace this Spring which depicts that we believe there is enough time for us too...just not enough for us to impress everyone or to fulfill every unruly desire.

So don’t fret about the lost hour. Or about having too much to do. There’ll still be enough time. If, that is, we trust the One who holds it in his hands.


Eric Youngblood is the senior pastor at Rock Creek Fellowship (PCA) on Lookout Mountain. Please feel free to contact him at or follow him on Twitter @GEricYoungblood.

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