Go At God’s Pace – Part 2

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how wonderful it must have been for some of the earliest mentioned people in Scripture to be able to walk with God.  I can just about imagine how awestruck and cautious these people would have been in the presence of the Almighty.  There would have been no need to rush around and be busy doing something, for the most important thing that mattered was to simply “be”, to be with God and experience His glory and majesty, and simply exist in a pure and loving relationship with God.

Oh, that would have been glorious to walk with God as Enoch did, or to talk face-to-face with God as Moses did, or to experience the dazzling glory of Christ as Peter, James and John did when Jesus was transfigured on top of the mountain.  But instead, for most of us, life seems to be a busy rat-race of existence which often seems to throw us curve balls that keep us in the valley of “hard-road” life.

It is at this point that our author, Mark Atteberry, shares some profound wisdom.  (We are going through a book study on “Walking With God on the Road You Never Wanted to Travel“.)  In an age where everything seems to be based on speed and being busy, Atteberry talks about the importance of slowing down and “walking” with God.

Our author gives us three good principles on slowing down, or as he entitled chapter seven, “Go At God’s Pace“.  This has got to be in my estimation one of the most difficult things for us as Christians to do.  Our society today is quite literally based on instant results.  Whether it is your boss demanding something to be done in a ridiculously short time (because your company, or at least your job, will be in jeopardy) or it is the fast-food-solution at the end of the day.  We have learned to live with the pressure of the “NOW”.

Instead of living like that, consider Atteberry’s first principle: Reflect on life’s lessons regarding the importance of slowing down.  We all know from our earliest school years up through into adulthood the consequences of going too fast on something and reaping bad results, even disastrous ones.  I can think of something as simple as a math test in elementary school where I rushed to beat the time of a friend of mine, but when the grades came back, I had made more mistakes than him.  I can also think of some missionary friends that thought they were ready for the field, but had not prepared themselves for life on the field.  Sad to say, they did not last very long on the mission field.

Another easy picture to bring this point home is that we all know that if we go over the speed limit we run the risk of getting a speeding ticket.  But is those four extra minutes saved really worth it?  I remember the time I was a school bus driver and at a red light I was revving my engine in fun to beat my friend in his bus.  By God’s grace I sensed in the last split second when the light went green that my friend hesitated and a huge panel truck went through the red light and could have killed me.  It’s not worth it.

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The second principle in this chapter is this: Slowing down will be easier if you remember what you have been called to do.  Atteberry quotes an excellent Scripture verse on page 90 from Micah 6:8, “This is what the Lord requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (He places the emphasis on the three italicized words.)

In this verse, it may not be too difficult to convince people in general to do the first two requirements.  Doing what is right and being kind to our neighbor, isn’t that a lot like “keeping the Ten Commandments”?  Well, yes, in part.  Following the Ten Commandments and being kind is certainly a good thing to do, and which many people do try to do, but that is not how to enter into and maintain a living relationship with God.

No, to truly have a relationship with God, we must place ourselves under His authority.  He is to be Lord of our lives.  So we should not try to run ahead of God.  At the same time, God loved us enough to let His Son die for us to provide forgiveness of our sins, and since Jesus calls us His brothers and God has adopted us to be our Father, then we are to walk with Him, beside Him.  We are not wretched slaves dragged behind God, but children who walk humbly beside Him, thankful for His love and mercy.

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The last principle in this chapter is: Slowing down will be easier if you reject the counsel of people who urge you to hurry up.  We need to be very careful when it comes to taking the advice of others or following their example.  One of our famous quotes as parents to our children when one of them did something foolish that a friend of theirs had suggested or done was to say, “And if he had jumped off a cliff, would you have done that too?”

Advice is something that is easy and cheap to give out.  But do we always take the time to weigh out the advice, or allow enough time to pass to let God get things done for us when the timing is right?  Atteberry offers us good counsel on this point, “Remember that the decision you make will probably not affect the people who are so freely offering you advice.  But it could profoundly affect you, possibly for years to come.”

And so dear friends, please take the time to slow down at least a small part of your life and humbly seek your God and allow Him the opportunity to show you the right way to come through whatever is your hard-road experience.  You will be amazed at the answers that God has in store for you.

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