Friday, November 9, 2012

The God of Details

You keep track of all my sorrows.  
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.    
You have recorded each one in your book. --Psalm 56:8

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body 
and knit me together in my mother’s womb. --Psalm 139:13

And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. --Luke 12:7a

God is definitely into details. These verses are just a sampling of how into details He is. Think about all the tiny little details embedded within creation of the earth and human life--molecules that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Then there are all the details given to Noah for building the ark! How about the battle of Jericho? Lots of details there, let's see: March around the city, seven priests, rams horns, don't talk, just march, and do this for six consecutive days. Then on the seventh day you can shout, but you have to say these specific words... Yes, He is the God of details.

I had a revelation in recent months about myself. I realized how often I tend to rush through tasks "just to get them done." I want to cross it off my list and get on with something more "interesting." This is especially true if I don't have to worry about quality control coming behind me to inspect. {smirk} So I often choose the "good enough" route instead of paying close attention to details. Sometimes this results in "do-overs."

Unfortunately this is also how I sometimes approach other things in life besides tasks. Let's see:

  • To the person standing in line at the fast food counter who cannot decide what to order...hurry up.

  • To the guy in the truck sitting in front of me, don't you know the light turned green? What are you waiting on? Maybe a different shade of green???

  • To the acquaintance who cannot decide if she really wants to go out for coffee at 3pm or 4pm or decide if which place we should go to... Either are fine with me. Really. Just please decide so we can get this settled--today.

A lot of this is impatience--okay, probably all of it is impatience. I tend to push myself and others--especially God--to hurry up and get it done. Oops! Did I say God? Yes.

Impatient with God? God has his own timetable and, of course, He is the God of details. Admit it. You've probably tried to ask God to hurry up and do something. If you're like me, you don't come right out and say it that way because that would be demanding God to do something. Instead, it may take the form of whining, complaining, crying--that sort of thing. Manipulation.

The fact is that God is better than the best skilled craftsman you can think of. A true craftsman (or artist) will meticulously work on something until it's absolutely right. No shortcuts are taken. No details are overlooked. Only the best tools and materials are used. These artists can envision what the finished piece should look like and will go to great lengths to make certain it gets there.

That's the way God works in our lives--in my life. Even when I cannot see anything happening, God is working behind the scenes to prepare the "canvas" and to fine tune every single detail. God wants the very best for me and not a half-finished project. It may seem like He is withholding something from me. Not necessarily. It needs to "cook a little longer" or it needs a "nip and tuck" before it's ready. If He did give me what I wanted before it was ready, I'd be disappointed or at the very least I would be short-changed.

Since I've become more aware of this tendency to rush, I've tried to slow down. I've been mindful of times when I try to push God ahead of His plan and His timing. I still get hurried or impatient, but with awareness comes an opportunity for me to practice a new habit: patience. When I'm practicing this habit in my relationship with God, it results in more trust in Him and peace for me while I wait. And if I'm not in such a hurry, I get the opportunity to watch a Master Craftsman at work. Amazing!

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