Despite his actions, I did what I always do.
Driving to the school where I teach takes about ten minutes. One morning as I puttered along, I noticed a snazzy Range Rover behind me. It didn’t take long for the person who drove it to figure out they didn’t want to follow me, and they zoomed around to the next stoplight. As it waited for the light to turn green, I pulled up beside it and stopped. The tortoise and the hare story came to mind. I wondered if the person in the Rover looked over and saw that the SUV they had shot around and left in the dust was sitting at the same light they were. Probably not.
When the light turned green, they peeled off again. I proceeded in my normal manner. They came to the next light, which turned red just before they arrived. Once again, I pulled up beside them. I smiled to myself and wondered again whether they looked over to see who sat next to them. After the light changed, we repeated the same thing one more time.
This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced such a scenario. I’ve learned fast cars don’t necessarily get you anywhere sooner if there are lights or stop signs involved. All they do is burn more gas and take rubber off the tires. Getting in a hurry doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily accomplish more or even get somewhere sooner.
But enough about driving. The psalmist didn’t have a car, and I doubt he could speed if he rode a camel or a donkey. He said, “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes” (Psalm 37:7 NLT).
Yet, the more important aspect is the being still. Busyness often tempts me to get ahead—to speed—at other’s expense. To focus only on me, neglecting or not thinking about the needs of others. It also prevents me from hearing God’s Spirit. That person of the godhead who keeps me going at the right speed and in the right direction. The One who gives me wisdom.
Life has taught me someone will always try to get ahead of me. Greed and selfishness drive them. People who think life is all about them and no one else. These are the ones the psalmist classifies as wicked. Maybe not to the degree they could be, but wicked nevertheless. But he gives good advice: don’t worry or fret about them. God has my back, not theirs.
As bad as the Coronavirus is, one thing it forced many people to do was slow down. In certain fields, some had to speed up to help temper the spread, treat the sick, and produce needed supplies, but others slowed down and spent more time with friends and family—important things.
When I slow down…build still times into my life’s schedule…I give myself an opportunity to hear God. And this is essential if I’m to proceed through life’s lights at the speed God wants me to travel. He has a path marked out for me—a path that includes a certain timing. If I peel out on my own and at my own speed, I’ll catch lights He doesn’t want me to, or I’ll arrive too late or too early. God’s plan not only includes the goal but also the steps involved to get there at the right time. The static of busyness keeps me from comprehending the plan.
Slowing down also builds my health so I can enjoy the plan—and the journey to the goal. Busyness often brings with it things that lead to poor health—such as not eating right, not getting enough rest, not getting enough of the right kind of exercise. No wonder the fast-food industry is spiking. Although we often have no control over the schedules our employers encumber us with, we can possibly make the hard choice of choosing the employer during normal healthy economic times. Sometimes, lower pay is not a bad thing.
As we build downtime into our schedules, it gives us the opportunity to consider our priorities and revamp them if necessary. After all, we only have one life and a limited time to love and serve God, our families, and others.
If life has become too fast and too furious for you, stop and ask God for wisdom to revamp some things.