slow work

/// This the the third post in our LBF:Book Club series on Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Father Greg Boyle. See posts one and two here and here. ///


“How do you know when to move on?” My friend asks about one of our neighbors, only half expecting an answer, letting the question float into the steamy Miami atmosphere. It lodges in my heart, jagged and sideways, not sitting quite right.

Teilhard de Chardin wrote that we must “trust in the slow work of God.” Ours is a God who waits. Who are we not to?

It takes what it takes for the great turnaround. Wait for it.

I’ve come to realize I thought I was done with waiting. Our six-year international adoption is complete. Our sons were freed from foster care and are now legally ours. We made it to Miami. Seven years of waiting for monstrous life changes; over.

Only now, I find myself waiting for life change in others. This waiting rubs against my humanity, much in the same way my own waiting did. Waiting isn’t a posture of the human heart capable of muscle memory.

My friend’s question is valid, I suppose, when we think of our finite time and resources. When we consider successful outcomes and potential returns on investment.

But, I’m coming to realize, it takes what it takes. For healing. For wholeness. For the great turnaround. And when we wander into the jurisdiction of God, we’re reminded of the slow work of God, and our only response: to wait for it.


I think waiting and hoping are two sides of the same coin. One doesn’t wait without hope, and there is no hoping without the slow work of waiting.

When you’ve chosen to stand where Satan threatens to steal the meaning of it all, the challenge then is to make meaning of it, even in the midst of waiting. To live in the already-not-yet of the Kingdom is to hope when hope feels futile from within and looks foolish from outside. It is a slow, often misunderstood, work.

Like Pedro, my hope can only come from being intoxicated by the dream that light is better than darkness. And when we are drunk on light, we encounter a God who waits. For us. For our neighbors. For the whole broken world.

It takes what it takes.

Wait for it.



  1. Meg R. April 18, 2016

    Amen! I just heard the other day that if we look at the story of Jacob we see that God works in decades and not just days. That he is willing to patiently pursue us and he is not impatient. Who are we to not do the same for others?

    • Lindsy Wallace April 20, 2016

      Yes Meg, you’re the second person to mention Jacob to me this week! 😉

  2. Rachel W April 19, 2016

    I’m not too far into this book but I really love it so far. I enjoy reading your sentiments and beautiful words.

    I’m not a risk-taker. In fact, in first grade, my teacher was given stickers (from my mom) to give me anytime I “took a risk.” I’m pretty sure there isn’t much to risk from inside a 1980’s first grade classroom in a middle-class school. I struggle taking risks still. Relating more to Moses when he makes excuses for why he can’t, than Peter who always seemed to jump first, think later. My prayer is not to take unnecessary risks, but to be willing to. To be in the midst of God’s will whether ‘I’ can or not.

    As my mom and I have talked about this book, we agree, there is a parallel story going on. The one where we feel pity for the lives of those being ministered to… those whose lives make you gasp with shock or poor choices. There is also the lower story that makes you realize, you are one of those poor souls– while maybe your way of life has never been in a gang, you’ve felt that hurt and desire for something better which is only fulfilled in Jesus. I look forward to continuing the book and thanks for sharing.

    • Lindsy Wallace April 20, 2016

      I’m so glad you’re reading along Rachel! And how sweet of your mom to identify this challenge in you even as a first grader!

      Yes, I often think about how glad I am that God’s no-matter-whatness applies to me and that in my own shame and disgrace he extends the reminder that healing only comes from Jesus.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts!


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