Have been thinking a lot recently about all the things we 'hold in tension' (popular phrase in preisty training) when our occupation is vicaring. When I was looking for my first post after my curacy I was repeatedly (and perhaps wisely), counseled that it was all about 'God's Time' and not my time, that everything would work itself out and I needed to stop pushing. What I think really happened is that I pushed and God pulled and I have found myself in the place intended as a result.
Having found myself on the verge of giving the same platitude to a colleague in the same position I was in 12 months ago I'm still irritated by the implication that 'God's Time' could conceivably require me to do absolutely nothing to discern the way forward. My understanding of God's Kingdom is that we're all working together in the process of discernment. If I'm being fobbed off with a pat on the head and 'wait on God's time, deary' - it is too often an excuse to opt out of God's calling on each of our lives to get on a do something. If I trust that God's strength will uphold me, whether the outcome is success or failure in the eyes of this world, I am set free to act.
I find myself now on the verge of my first APCM (annual church council meeting legally required in the Church of England for the election and appointment of roles within a church's life), with question marks over some of those roles as volunteers retire after years of dedicated service. Half of me is stressed that the answer isn't neat and the roles haven't been filled by willing and forthcoming volunteers - the other half of me is contemplating 'God's time' again. I have acted, I have discussed, I have preached about vocation and discernment - I have even read the Church Representation Rules (extreme times call for extreme measures!) I now need to watch and pray, trusting God to do what is needed. Maybe what is needed is a gap, a problem, a crisis, for the right people to hear and accept their particular calling. I hold these things in tension, and pray the Vicar's prayer "Please God, help me not to snap."