One day my wife and I were in a hurry to get home to do our work, our writing, but instead we sat down on a lovely rock wall to enjoy the view for a moment—when we got this inspiration:
There is hardly anything that can be enjoyed in a hurry—a glass of wine, a walk, a talk, a ride, a view, a meal, or an embrace. God is hardly ever in a hurry! It takes Him time to make a baby, a flower, a tree, a sunset, or even a blade of grass.
It’s a funny thing, but thoughts like this used to come to me when I was a little boy, sitting on a hill. I used to think and wonder about what everything in creation meant—that it was all an illustration of something; everything said something!
The sea is always peaceful and quiet and slow and leisurely, except when there’s a storm.
Speed kills. Haste makes waste. Patience takes faith. If you’re in a hurry, you miss things, lose things, forget things, and wear out quickly. You may live it up, but you might not be able to live it down. You may marry in haste but repent at leisure! You may save a minute but lose a life! You may be penny-wise but pound-foolish.
If you go slow, you get there quicker—at least you get there. Better late than never; better safe than sorry! If you stop to look before you leap, you may not have to leap at all. A miss is as good as a mile! It takes time to aim straight.
When I was in the army, we often had target practice at the shooting range. Some of the targets were moving, while others appeared for a moment and then disappeared. Many of the other soldiers were in such a hurry to shoot for fear that the target would disappear, that they missed it all together. They got so excited that they jerked the trigger so quick and hard that it jerked the whole rifle, which caused them to miss the mark, the target. But I took time to rest my elbow firmly, hold my rifle securely, aim accurately, and squeeze the trigger slowly. I learned to wait until I was sure I could hit the bull’s-eye, and then fired. I got so good at this that I was rated as a sharpshooter, an expert rifleman with nine out of ten bull’s-eyes in competition. I was neither hasty, nor did I forget to fire altogether. I took reasonable time to aim straight and squeeze, not jerk! Squeeze, don’t jerk, or you’ll miss something!
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Once when I was in a big hurry to do something, the Lord spoke to me with the following illustration:
It takes time to build a house. First, you must lay the foundation solidly, then lay brick upon brick and stone upon stone, firmly with mortar, each piece fitting accurately—and you cannot do this in a hurry, or your wall will crumble. Then the roof must be laid securely, beam upon beam, rafter upon rafter, roofing tile upon roofing tile. Then come the plasterers; then the finishers to hang windows and doors, lay floor coverings, and finally paint. Then at last, you have a building fitly joined together—a beautiful sight to see—a well-made structure built slowly and well to last!
But I’ve seen some buildings thrown up in a hurry that were, as some crooked contractors used to joke, “strong enough to get out of them before they fall!”—And it’s this kind that collapse in storms and kill their occupants! I saw thousands of buildings demolished by a hurricane once. Thousands of people were killed because of faulty, hasty construction that could not stand the wind of adversity.
You can have peace even in the midst of storm if you know you are secure and at rest in a safe building—strong, solid, well built, immovable by the wildest gale. A good building doesn’t get up and run away. It’s not blown away by the storm. It just sits tight until the storm blows over.
We are to wait on the Lord. “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31), instead of wearing out. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3). Those who believe enter into rest (Hebrews 4:3).
Rest in the Lord! Patience takes faith. Tribulation teaches patience, because it compels you to trust the Lord, to have faith in God for the outcome (Romans 5:3).
“He sins who hastens with his feet” (Proverbs 19:2). “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest. … ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked'” (Isaiah 57:20-21). They are tossed to and fro, and they cannot rest. But “there remains a rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9).
Squeeze, don’t jerk, or you’ll miss something—and missing the mark of God is sin!
When Moses was in a hurry to deliver the children of Israel, he killed an Egyptian and had to flee for his own life, alone. But after 40 years of patiently, humbly tending sheep in the wilderness, with time to listen to the voice of God instead of his own impulses, he was finally ready for the slow, laborious, patient work of the Exodus—slow, but sure!
Then he spent 40 days and nights on the mountain and heard from God, but in one split second of anger, he broke all Ten Commandments and had to go back up and spend another 40 days there. His haste took him twice as long (Exodus, chapters 32-34.)
In Aesop’s fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare,” the hare never made it, but the tortoise did!
My wife used to say to me on the way to some meeting or appointment, “Now, Honey, we don’t have time for any of your shortcuts!” She knew what usually happened when I started cutting across country trying to find a quicker way: We’d get lost and wind up later than ever!
Squeeze, don’t jerk, or you’ll miss the mark—and that’s a sin.
Sometimes my wife gets very impatient with me because I don’t answer her immediately when she asks me a question, but it takes time to think and pray, to be sure I give the right answer. Anybody can reply immediately, but are they really saying anything? Be slow to speak and slow to anger (James 1:19). Go slow. Take your time. You’ll enjoy things more, and you’ll get more out of life.
My father used to sing a funny little ditty: “Never let yourself get worried, hurried or flurried, or else you’ll find yourself getting harried, married or buried!”
“Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6). But it takes time even to study the busy little antics of the ant, to learn anything from her. Don’t be slothful, but be diligent in business (Romans 12:11). The sloth hangs there on the limb all day with his eyes shut, sleeping, scarcely moving, till he looks like part of the tree. He’s not just slow; he acts like he’s dead!
Be “temperate in all things” (1 Corinthians 9:25). “Let your moderation be known to all men” (Philippians 4:5 KJV). Don’t run too fast, lest you stumble, and don’t just sit there. Do something, but “walk circumspectly” (Ephesians 5:15).
Squeeze, don’t jerk, or you may miss the mark—and that’s a sin!