Dear Family of St John’s
I recently had the joyful experience of renewing my driver’s license. I decided to tackle this during my last few days of leave. On one of the hottest and most humid days we’ve had!
Fortunately, I had company in this task. My sister and I have renewed our licenses together for many years now. Every five years we go to the Traffic Department together: take-away coffees, bottles of water and books in hand, prepared to wait together.
This year, we needed to make an appointment to do this process. I thought this would make things quicker. It didn’t. But, to be fair, I think that was due to loadshedding. We had a two-hour backlog in front of us before we even started.
After getting the correct form, completing sections A, B & D of the form, confirming that we had all the documents, we were told to join the eye-test queue.
I would love to understand the system. I’m convinced that there’s a more efficient way of doing all this. We had done our eye tests with our optometrist and had the form to prove that we could see well enough to drive. But, we still had to wait in the same queue.
Now, you need to understand that because of the two-hour loadshedding backlog, there wasn’t enough seating and corridor space for the length of this queue. We were snaking all the way down the corridor into the reception area. None of us in the queue really knew what was going on, we weren’t even 100% sure we were in the right queue!
Then, a large group of us were pulled out of the line and told to follow a gentleman down the passage, around a corner and into another room. I’m not sure what differentiated us from anyone else. Nevertheless, when a Traffic Department official tells you to go, you just go.
The lady in front of us asked me, ‘Do you know where we’re going?’ I didn’t. But replied that I was just ‘trusting the process’. It was an offhand comment, we laughed. And she said, ‘you have a lot of faith!’
That made me think. Isn’t our journey of faith a little like that?
We don’t always understand what’s happening. We look around at others to see what they’re doing and wonder whether we should be doing the same thing. We wonder if they know what they’re doing and question if their is example is a good one.
We ask questions but don’t always get the answer we want. Or, get an answer that doesn’t make too much sense. We ask for help but don’t always get the assistance we need. But, at some point we’re in the queue and we find ourselves shifting forward one seat at a time.
There are a few responses to this. We can ask questions, try and follow the signs that point to where we should be going and keep moving forward even when we aren’t always too sure that where we’re going is the right place. We can trust the process.
Or we can have a temper tantrum, throw our toys at the unfairness of the system and the lack of direction, the lack of response to questions and pleas, and storm out, abandoning the whole process.
Trusting the process requires faith. Just to be clear, I’m talking about our faith in God here, not the Traffic Department! We need faith that even when we don’t understand, God knows and has everything under control.
We need faith to carry us through when our most heartfelt and deepest prayers aren’t answered in the way we have asked. We need to trust that God is still there, that He still loves us and has a better plan for our lives.
Holding on to this faith and trusting in God’s process is not always easy. In fact, it’s more often difficult than easy. But He is the God who is faithful. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the Creator of all things. He is the One who redeems us. And we hold on to this, we hold on to His promises.
May you hold on tight this year. When the ground feels shaky or the queue seems never-ending, hold on to Him, trust the process. He know what lies in store and He loves you.
Your friend and rector,
P.S. We were eventually sent back to join the original eye-test queue. Moral of the story: trusting the process at the Traffic Department isn’t exactly the same as trusting God’s process!