Friday, April 12, 2024

Too Fast, Too Furious - Martin Wiles

too fast too furious
Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Psalm 37: 7 NLT

Despite his actions, I did what I always do.

Driving to the school where I teach takes about ten minutes. It would take less time, but around seven stoplights litter my path—and most of them usually catch me. One morning as I puttered along, I noticed a snazzy Range Rover behind me. It didn’t take long for the person who drove it to figure out they didn’t want to follow me, and they zoomed around.

I’ve been driving since I was fifteen and have never had a ticket. I’m not a slow driver—at least by the law’s standards—but I am by those who don’t enjoy going the speed limit, or five miles over. Which is my norm. The only time I’ve ever been stopped was when I had a pickup with oversized tires. They threw my speedometer off by five miles an hour. Fortunately, the nice highway patrolman understood and only gave me a warning. From then on, I adjusted my speed accordingly.

But back to the Range Rover. As it rocketed around me, I watched it speed off to the next stop light. As it waited for the light to turn green, I pulled up beside it and stopped. The tortoise and hare story came to mind. I wondered if the person in the Rover looked over and saw that the SUV they had shot around and left in the dust was sitting at the same light they were. Probably not. They were in a hurry, no doubt.

When the light turned green, they peeled off again. I proceeded in my normal manner. They came to the next light, which turned red just before they arrived. Once again, I pulled up beside them. I smiled to myself and again wondered whether they looked over to see who sat next to them. After the light changed, we repeated the same thing one more time. As I turned to go to my school, they sped off down the highway. They were too fast and too furious. I did what I do anytime I drive: obey the speed limit.

This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced such a scenario. I’ve learned fast cars don’t necessarily get you anywhere sooner if lights or stop signs abound. All the hurry-up does is burn more gas and take rubber off the tires. Getting in a hurry doesn’t mean we’ll accomplish more or even get somewhere sooner. In fact, if a policeman stops us for speeding, we might get there later than the person who obeys the speed limit.

But enough about driving. The psalmist didn’t have a car, and I doubt he could speed if he rode a camel or a donkey. Each of those animals seems to have a somewhat casual attitude toward moving along. The psalmist’s advice: be still and wait on God. Don’t worry about those who seem to plow ahead at breakneck speed or do evil things to get what we might desire.

Life has taught me that someone will always try to get ahead of me. Greed and selfishness drive them. People who think life is all about them and no one else are the ones the psalmist classifies as wicked. Maybe not to the degree they could be, but wicked nonetheless. But he gives good advice: don’t worry or fret about them. God has our back, not theirs.

Yet, the more important aspect is being still. Busyness often tempts us to get ahead—to speed—at other’s expense. To focus only on us, neglecting or not thinking about the needs of others. It also prevents us from hearing God’s Spirit—the person of the godhead who keeps us going at the right speed and in the right direction. The one who gives wisdom and direction. The one who keeps us from speeding from one light to the next and having to stop at each one in the process.

As bad as COVID-19 was, it forced many people to slow down. In certain fields, some had to speed up to help temper the spread, treat the sick, and produce needed supplies. But others slowed down and spent more time with friends and family—important things.

When we slow down . . . build silent times into our life’s schedule . . . we give ourselves an opportunity to hear God. And this is essential if we’re to proceed through life’s lights at the speed God wants us to travel. He has a path marked out—a path that includes a certain timing. If we peel out on our own and at our own speed, we’ll catch lights he doesn’t want us to, or we’ll arrive too late or too early. God’s plan not only includes the goal but also the steps involved to get there at the right time. The static of busyness keeps us from comprehending the plan.

Slowing down also builds our health so we can enjoy the plan—and the journey to the goal. Busyness often brings with it things that lead to poor health—such as not eating right, getting enough rest, or getting enough of the right exercise. No wonder the fast-food industry is spiking. Grabbing a takeout pizza proves much easier and faster than cooking a healthy meal at home. Although we often have no control over the schedules our employers encumber us with, we can possibly make the hard choice of choosing the employer during normal healthy economic times. Sometimes, lower pay is not a bad thing.

As we build downtime into our schedules, we have the opportunity to consider our priorities and revamp them if necessary. After all, we only have one life and a limited time to love and serve God, our families, and others.

If life has become too fast and too furious for you, stop and ask God for wisdom to revamp some things.

Father, when the hurry of life overwhelms me, show me how to slow down. 

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