From the Renovaré Newsletter Archive

The selection below is from a April 2003 Renovaré newsletter. Download a PDF of the original newsletter.
Introductory Note:

If it seems as though we post a lot about waiting here at Renovaré, that’s because it is a discipline that resonates with us—and we think with the world at large—in our “haste, hurry, and hustle.”

Today, Richard Foster introduces us to the idea of living a life that’s “time-full” instead. We cannot wait for you to read it ... um, what we mean is, please pursue at your leisure.

Renovaré Team

Impatience as a Primary Spiritual Problem

The first weekend in March (2003), I was sitting in a plane on the St. Louis airport tarmac because a snowstorm had diverted us from our intended destination. We waited in hopes that the storm would clear in time for us to make it to Springfield, Missouri, before the day was out. Unlike many aboard, I had no tight connection or business deadline to make, and so I could more easily than many wait out the storm. We arrived, finally, howbeit some hours later than planned. Then, to add insult to injury, it took some forty-five minutes for the airline to get our bags into the terminal as the plane’s luggage compartment had frozen shut.

My little airplane delay was a small thing compared to many of life’s frustrations. Still, I had ample opportunity to reflect upon how impatience has become a primary spiritual problem in contemporary society. I watched with interest the growing frustration and impatience in passengers to get on with life.” Of course, in point of fact, their lives and my life were right there on that plane waiting out a snowstorm. It is not without reason that the writer to the Hebrews urges us to run with patience the race that is set before us” (12:1).

A Strange Juxtaposition

I had added Springfield to another trip in order to be with a dear family that was suffering the loss of a husband and father. Ken Boyce had become a surrogate father to me after my own father’s death many years ago, and I was there to be with his wife of fifty-nine years, Doris, and their two adult daughters. Like Enoch of old, Ken had walked with God” lo these many years. And Doris said it felt almost like he walked right into heaven, dying as he did in his sleep. She had been holding his hand all through the night, and in the early hours of the morning it simply grew cold as he quietly slipped from this life into greater LIFE. Long ago Jeremy Taylor wrote a pivotal book, Holy Living and Holy Dying—well, Ken Boyce had done both.

For me it was a strange juxtaposition — my temporary delay on the plane and our celebrating the life and mourning the passing of this genuinely good man. When I place our human impatience alongside the reality of Ken Boyce who had lived life so very well, I am rebuked. Over his long life Ken knew a great deal about endurance and, especially in his latter years when he faced the physical limitations of Parkinson’s, he experienced patience in spades. As we reminisced together, telling old stories about our friend, husband, and father, I saw in dramatic fashion the importance of time in growing a great soul — time and patience and loving attention to what Thomas Kelly calls the Divine Center.”

A Time-full Life

The post-modern person is addicted to haste, hurry, hustle. And the addiction shrivels our soul. Our desperate need today is for a time-full life. When we are fractured and fragmented with muchness” and manyness” we cannot experience a time-full life. When we chaff under the slowness” of our microwaves and our computers it becomes nearly impossible for us to obey the divine Whisper, Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). Some things simply will not yield to our perpetual hankering for the instant, the immediate, the sudden. Surely the growth of our soul before God is one of those things.

Time … time and space … time and space and stillness … these are the tools God uses to build a patient endurance within us. One of the most repeated counsels given in Scripture is the simple admonition to Wait upon the Lord.” But we will never even see this as a good thing until we enter a time-full life. In one memorable passage Kelly says, I find that God never leads us into an intolerable scramble of panting feverishness.” May you … may I … enter that stillness of soul which alone can cultivate a time-full life.

First published in Perspectives, April 2003.

Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash

Text First Published April 2003 · Last Featured on July 2022