When my husband and I are out driving, he gets annoyed with drivers who follow closely behind just itching to get by. Often when they do pass us they get stopped at a signal light anyway or they get stuck behind yet another car. At those moments hubby will mutter, “See! Hurry up and wait!”
Why are people always in such a hurry to subtract a few seconds from their day?
Stepping into the elevator, pressing the floor I wanted, I immediately pressed the “close door” button. Why?
- Waiting for my coffee to brew in my Keurig machine, I felt the urge to not waste the few seconds and started unloading the dishwasher. Why?
- Paying for groceries, I inserted my credit card in the machine, punched in my PIN, and found myself irritated that it took so long for “Approved Please Remove Card” to come up. Why?
As much as I love my solitude, I find myself drawn into the instantaneous North American culture. We act first and think later.
- Book by midnight tonight!
- Book now! Sale won’t be extended!
- Limited availability!
- Only one copy left!
- Don’t miss a thing!
- Space is limited. Please RSVP today!
- Irresistible offers!
I MUST resist if I want to keep my sanity!
This past week I started a study on Nehemiah and several aspectsof his story really impacted me. While living in the winter palace of King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah received word that the walls and gates of Jerusalem had been broken down and burned during the siege of Nebuchadnezzar. Immediately, Nehemiah sat down and wept for the city of his ancestors, the Jews. He went into a period of mourning for days. Instead of mounting his horse and rushing off in a cloud of dust to see what he could do, he took time to stop and grieve. He allowed his emotions to flow so he could eventually think more clearly. And then Nehemiah did what all of us should do before taking action.
He prayed! He called on the Lord God of heaven whom Nehemiah knew saw him praying night and day. For four agonizing months he prayed praising God, recounting God’s covenant promises, asking God to keep those promises, confessing his sin and the sins of his people, and requesting that God show His kindness to Nehemiah as he went before the king.
Then when the time was right Nehemiah approached the king whom he served as cupbearer. With a quick prayer again to the God of heaven, Nehemiah presented his request to the king. One by one God opened doors for him to return to Jerusalem and direct the rebuilding of the walls and gates. Throughout the rebuilding and subsequent celebration, Nehemiah constantly led the people to seek God in prayer.
When they faced opposition Nehemiah prayed, “Hear us, our God, for we are being mocked.”
When their enemies threatened to come and fight they prayed to their God and set up guards to protect themselves day and night.
When the Book of the Law was read to them, they confessed their sins to God.
Afterward they praised the Lord God in prayer and recalled all the ways God had kept His covenant with them from the time of Abraham to the present.
Then they promised to follow their God and put the vow in writing.
Great celebration continued with singing, the playing of instruments, and offerings of sacrifices.
Am I in too much of a hurry to be passionate about confessing my sin to God? How often do I take time to weep and mourn over my sin and the sins of others? When was the last time I pondered the promises of God to me and spent time praying them back to Him?
Can I remember when I was awestruck by God’s majesty and power?
While taking a walk along the Bedford waterfront this week, I deliberately took time to sit quietly on a park bench far away from the dozens of children and adults enjoying a welcome sunny and warm spring day. I watched as two seagulls perched together on a small round red buoy cooing to each other. They did a kind of dance and then stood beak-to-beak before sliding off into the water. I smiled and giggled at what appeared to be a mating ritual…a rare moment of simple beauty in an otherwise very busy day. I almost missed it!
Proverbs 19:2 says, “It isn’t good to get all stirred up without knowledge. And it isn’t good to be in a hurry and miss the way.” (NIRV)
Until next time,