Friday, January 11, 2019

Slow Down

The faster I go the “behinder” I get. Ever hear that? Do you believe it? I do now. I once had so much to do that I had to move faster and faster to complete or even catch up with the work. I once was a senior hospital executive and worked 12-16 hour days, often including weekends. I don’t think this is unique to hospitals or me. Do you relate to this? If so, that’s a problem, one of the biggest ones in our western society. Slowing down is quitting or getting behind or just being lazy I hear many saying. God would say that is a fatal flaw.

God is described in Exodus 34:6 “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”  Yes God is a lot, more than we can describe. But many think He is slow. “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promises, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2Peter 3:9). Now there is a great contrast between God and people. Awesomely God has made some 7,500 promises in Scripture and He keeps them all in His timing and ways. Therein lies the problem for many people, He’s too slow, I need it now! But that’s not how God works or wants us to work. God is patient and waits for us to slow down even stop and repent of our quick and sinful ways.  He wants us to come to faith in the only One who can help us slow down with purpose. Self-discipline will help, but only when empowered by the Holy Spirit.

God wants us also to be slow in other ways. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). We have a tendency to jump to conclusions or react to comments. This is not pleasing to God. It has taken me most of my adult life to come to grips with this. In fact, I am learning that it might even be better to not be just slow but silent at times. I don’t have to comment on everything said. I might learn something if I actually listen slowly without working on my next statement while the other person is talking.

In the beginning God created heaven and earth and everything in it in six days. Then He rested on the seventh, not because He needed it, but because we need it. We need to slow down and refresh, be renewed. Resting is slowing down. Isaiah 30:15 says  “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust in your strength, but you would have none of it.”  Do you get that? Rest brings us strength. Slowing down is part of that. We just returned from a short vacation. My wife said it took the first three days to relax. You cannot rest if you are not relaxed and you need to slow down intentionally to do it.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.