Divine Instant is the title of a song on Daniel Amos’ Darn Floor – Big Bite
“It is not up to man to place the inevitable in time and space. The inevitable is somehow outside time and space. Materially unfulfilled, it exists in the shape of the present as well as of the past and the future in one divine instant.” – Oscar Czeslaw
Oscar Czeslaw is uncle of Czeslaw Milosz (see “The Unattainable Earth”), a philosopher in his own right.
Looking at a map, at best guess it looks like it’s about 300 miles from Cairo, Egypt to Jerusalem, Israel. Walking a leisurely ten miles a day, it should take a month to get from one to the other. God wasn’t interested in the fastest path from A to B for the Israelites however. Instead, they wandered back and forth, again and again through the wilderness for forty years. Surely they must have passed the same landmarks several times? How frustrating must it have been to aimlessly head to nowhere day after day? The Lord has no interest in getting things done as fast as possible or as efficiently as possible, that’s an American idea.
There have been a couple “wilderness” periods in my own life, most of 1995 alone in Florida, most of 1997 when I radically reconstructed myself and the latter half of 2002 when a series of events sent me briefly reeling. What I remember most about every “wilderness” experience were three things. The first thing I remember is that during those eras, there was really nothing to do but take one step forward and go wherever the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire led me. I wasn’t allowed any glimpses of what the future held, just keep walking forward and keep trusting. What a beautiful and terrible thing it is to have nothing but God to look forward to and comfort in. The second thing I remember is that there really was nothing I could do to get out of the wilderness period. The Lord would lead me out of it when he was good and ready and no amount of behavior changes or attitude changes on my part would speed it up. Finally, I learned that in those periods, like every day in my life, I had to learn to be content in the circumstances that I was in and not be anxious for the future and not regretful *or* longing for the past.
I’m still not very good with patience or contentment, but I’d like to think that I’m improving. I find it funny that everyone else in my life seems to be in a hurry to advance me through each phase of my life (constant questions like “So when are you getting married?” sound like nothing more than a passive-aggressive way of saying “Why haven’t you gotten married yet?” and “So, when are you having children?” sounds like nothing more than “Why don’t you have children yet?”), but I am content with where I am right now, thank you very much. I’m content to be married and someday (God willing), I will be content as a father, and it will all be at the time God is ready to provide it to me, not when other people want it for me or when I think I should have it.
It’s not an easy thing to wait upon the Lord, but maybe I’m slowly learning to depend on the Divine Instant.