Everything is going fast: fast messages, fast replies, fast fixes. We become fast friends, who sometimes find out we jumped in too fast, and need to get out of the relationship…fast. We are fast to start a conversation and fast to comment. We send out fast birthday wishes, and our Christmas photos go out fast, by email and social media. We are fast to post pictures of our families on special occasions. Who will post their holiday photo the fastest? There are even apologies from those who feel they didn’t post fast enough. It’s so convenient. Isn’t it great that we can do everything so fast?
Not so fast! There’s nothing wrong with communicating, fixing problems, and sharing our joyous occasions. But God isn’t the one ordering us to go so fast! It’s an expectation we have laid upon ourselves. We listen to lies from the enemy, and he laughs at us, as we run around, until we are out of breath. God wants us to slow down; He wants us to take time out by seeking Him first. When we reply, or respond too quickly, we may find ourselves caught up in a sin, such as anger or pride. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1: 19:20 New International Version).
We may rush to volunteer, when God has someone else in mind for the job. We might deprive that person of the blessing of service, and end up being burned out. Maybe God meant for you to spend that block of time with your family. God doesn’t want us to react under pressure. We don’t have an obligation to please anyone but God. When we first seek to please God, others are blessed, and we are able to grow in Christ.
Feelings betray us. Slowing down allows God time to put our emotions back into check. He may not even want us to be involved with a specific situation. He may be protecting us. Or, we may be rushing into God’s territory, where we don’t belong. We don’t want to run out the front door, blindly rushing past God, without seeing Him. He’s standing there with the perfect solution!
On social media, people can often see the exact time you viewed their message. You might have clicked on it, but didn’t have a chance to read it yet. Perhaps you’re going about your busy day, and maybe you even forgot. Regardless, we shouldn’t feel in a hurry to reply. We are free in Christ. We don’t need to worry about others judging us. God knows our heart, and that’s all that matters. When we slow down, and ask Him what to do, He will take care of us, and all the details. “ ‘I, the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve’ ” (Jer. 17:10).
God made the world in six days, and He rested on the seventh. He didn’t just hurry up, make stick figures, and call it a day. He thought about each and every one of us: what our features would look like, how we’d come into being, and when we would arrive. Before that, he was painting the sky, while carefully drawing in the sun, moon, and stars. He formed clouds and flying birds for fluid motion. God’s mosaic was the salt-filled ocean. He dotted it with invisible, tiny creatures, splashed it with colorful swimming fish, and topped it off with the great blue whale!
God molded the earth with His own hands, giving us a playground to explore. He gave us air to breathe, and created us with lungs which need that oxygen in order to survive. He made green grass to tickle our feet and giant oak trees for our children to climb. He laughed as He created animals, and later reveled in the joy they would bring to us. He already knew an elephant’s trunk would make us giggle, and that we’d marvel, with mouths agape, at the length of a giraffe’s neck. He not only took his time, he even rested when He was done. “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work” (Genesis 2:2).
Why on His beautiful green earth, would God want us to rush through each and every day, so fast, when He took it slow? He didn’t rush when He brought His greatest gift into the world. He brought us eternal salvation in the form of a newborn baby. The Virgin Mary was pregnant with Jesus for nine months. Jesus was born, by making his way into the world, like all the rest of us. He grew from childhood to adulthood, taking his time to learn everything that his Father, God had to teach him. He took his time to pray. Yes, he performed immediate miracles, but he also took his time, and never let anyone rush him. He didn’t need to hurry; he was given the power to raise people from the dead!
God’s plan of salvation, involved Jesus growing to adulthood, in order to accomplish His will. The ministry of Jesus did not happen overnight. Jesus endured much pain and suffering over the years, and a long, excruciating crucifixion. God also allowed enough time on earth for Jesus to bring hope, healing, and freedom to vast numbers of people, who came from everywhere searching for his love. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and God raised him from the dead on the third day. Alive again, Jesus even walked around for a while on earth, before ascending into Heaven to be with God, our Father. “After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).
There’s a silver lining, in knowing we can slow down, and take time to talk to God, when everyone and everything is rushing past us. If we are taking time out to be with God, a flash of lightning is no longer a threat. God can set it into slow motion or stop it in its tracks. We can pause, breathe in God’s goodness, and trust that He is in control. We can ask God to be the Lord of our day, doing only what He requires, when He requires it. We can take comfort in taking no action at all, unless we hear Him tell us to do so.
Slowing down, to spend time with God, will help us to become wise. We will learn how to filter out the things that are unimportant, and focus on the things that are. We will be more fulfilled and less anxious. Our health, emotional, and spiritual well-being will improve. Things will begin to fall into place. Let’s allow God to speak to our hearts today, and show us that we no longer have to do everything fast.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil. 4:6).