Godspeed and God's speed

"Godspeed". I've heard the phrase most of my life, and kind of figured it had something to do with wishing someone well, but was otherwise unaware of what it actually meant. God is everywhere all the time, so "speed" doesn't really factor in for Him, does it? Was it a prayer to arrive at my destination instantaneously? My pondering led to an internet search, which yielded the following: 

From Middle English phrase God spede (“may God cause you to succeed”), from God (“God”) + spede, singular subjunctive of speden (“to prosper”), from Old English spēdan, from spēd (“success”) (see English speed). Definition: The wish that the outcome of someone's actions is positive for them, typically someone about to start a journey or a daring endeavor.

So that was pretty cool. Then I came across an idea that really intrigued me. It was a conversation about "God's speed", with the focus on Jesus' pace as He very literally walked through His life on earth. As I read the gospels, I see Jesus always on mission, always moving forward, but never rushed. He always had time for people, almost to the point of appearing interrupt-driven at times.

When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant.... So Jesus went with them.  -Luke 7:1-3, 6

I sometimes shy away from stepping into conversations because one thing leads to another and before you know it, you're in the middle of something that is time-consuming and messy. Jesus didn't look at His interactions that way. Y'all probably get tired of me saying "Heads up, eyes open", but this is what I'm talking about. What if, instead of adding "initiate conversation/cultivate meaningful friendship" to my to-do list, I just went about my business, but with a perspective that notices people around me who need to see Jesus today? An "as you go" approach that engages with whoever crosses my path. What difference would that make for my walk? What difference would that make for my world?

Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”  -Luke 7:11-13

So now to the point where the rubber meets the road. This week was challenging. I had a project going at work that necessitated my onsite presence from 5:30 AM to 7:00 PM each day, culminating in an all-nighter on Friday. Meanwhile, my wife had an abscessed tooth that was giving her fits (she'll have oral surgery next week), some family drama with her sister and niece leading to a difficult discussion around expectations they had of her, and an unexpected house guest, a friend of our daughter who was living in her car and needed a place to stay for a while. 

My wife needed to process the three-ring circus going on at home. I was coming in at night looking for a soft place to fall down. She had lots of words she needed to unload. I knew if I didn't rest while I could, I wouldn't survive the week. Her love language is words of affirmation. "Can you please just shut up and let me go to bed?" isn't very affirming. So what did I do? I sleepily stayed up to listen. Not that my attitude was consistently charitable, or my responses consistently coherent, but I tried hard to surrender the situation to God and let His grace flow through me. Because "convoying" means loving people the way Jesus does, and sometimes I have to practice with those closest to me.

Praying Godspeed as you approach this daring endeavor traveling at God's speed.

Scott Thompson