Or ever, actually.
Buses are surprisingly swift.
So I stood there, thinking a moment. It wasn't that far to get home if I started walking now. The evening, though the slight bite to the air had driven Ronke and I from sitting in the long grass on Brandon Hill, felt refreshing. It tasted like rain. It was like biting into a fruit - fresh, and tangy, giving you that slightly zingy feel that only air swollen and ready for a good downpour can give.
My feet know the roads so well by now. I barely noticed where I was walking, except to shift my bags every so often in my hands. It was a gift, this moment - a rare time to think, when my life affords so very little of it.
Often now I'll wake up early just to snatch a bit of time to myself, to walk up to the park near me and sit on a bench, or quietly stroll through the crisp early morning. Morning joggers don't pay much attention to you; dogwalkers won't notice because they're bleary eyed, only kept walking by the creature whose fault it is they're outside, tugging on the lead.
It's so easy to blame busyness for not walking closely with God. I know that, especially in the last few months with family stuff going on and university and exams, it was so easy to compromise on time with Him. To say that I can do my time with Him later, that it's something to be left til last. Because obviously, exams came first. This is just a season, God, I argued, excusing myself when I snatched only a couple of moments a day, or none at all. It'll be less crazy soon, and we can have some quality time then. Because obviously the Maker of the Universe has a pause button.
I am so arrogant. The blunt, humbling truth is that yes, He does wait. That He puts up with my arrogance in believing that He can be put on hold, ignored, left 'til later, kept for another time.
You do not box in God.
There is no shrinking Him, no quantifying Him.
And His discipline is gentle, firm and deliberate. When I was angry at Him for not answering prayers close to my heart, that seemed so massive, that were wept over and cried out for, when He answered what I felt were silly prayers instead, He reminded me that He is good. That He is bigger. That He is worthy of my time.
He does not find His value in my worship. He doesn't wait like a dog for scraps for the next crumb of prayer, the next words of praise. He receives it because He is worthy of it. He is a God to whom, if the entire world didn't praise Him, 'the very rocks would cry out.'
The privilege is all on my side. That I get to praise Him, to have a relationship with Him, is not only a stunning gift of grace, it is unbelievably illogical. In the breathtaking intimacy that comes out of it, it's so easy to become comfortable. To forget the big picture. To so easily identify with His role as Dad that we forget His role as King.
I urge you to take a step back. It was very uncomfortable to look honestly at what I'd allowed to happen in my relationship with Him a few weeks back. To take the time to make it right. And yet, there was no condemnation in turning back and reaching closer. I felt rueful, not judged. Loved, and cherished, not broken. I assure you, the busier you are, the closer you need to cling onto Him.
Scrap that. You need to leap onto His lap, bury your face in His chest, and breathe Him in. Grab onto Him with both hands, and you'll discover (perhaps with surprise) that His grip on you never faltered.
Because He is a God who waits.