Thursday, September 29, 2011


My computer is several years old and has turned into a chronic slow loader--and the thoughts that frequently go through my head while a Web page drags its heels reaching "usability" stage aren't fit to publish in a Christian blog, or even a PG-rated secular one.

Many of us do little better when fellow human beings fail to give us what we want instantly. We fume when the waiter takes ten minutes to bring a second glass of water; rap on the counter instead of waiting for the sales clerk to glance our way; tell the customer service representative what we think of automated phone systems before getting into the original purpose of the call; blast the horn at drivers who stick to two miles below the speed limit; and, in our worst moments, actually scream, swear, and call names in public.   

Not that we give our own selves much special consideration in the "hurry up" area. Many workers spend sixty or seventy or even ninety hours a week, fifty-two weeks a year, pushing themselves to beat out the guy in the next cubicle as Most Productive Worker. When these workaholics finally go home, they still find so many chores that need doing that they barely take time to eat or sleep.

For others, the problem isn't so much the number of hours worked as the fact that those hours are spent on nothing but work. You've perhaps seen people like that at your own office. They're the ones whose necks seem frozen in eyes-on-the-computer position, who stay in their chairs until you wonder if they wear diapers to avoid restroom breaks; who eat lunch with one hand while continuing to work with the other; and who are scandalized if you interrupt them with the tiniest unrelated-to-business matter. They're afraid to let go of their work lest it get away from them.

Paradoxically, more than one study has found that those who take frequent breaks actually get more done in the long run. The need for pauses seems to be built into Creation, from flowers closing their petals at night to the human heart resting between beats. The human desire to accomplish more by avoiding rest is older than the Ten Commandments--why else would the Sabbath command be included?--but like everything contrary to God's commands, it goes against the natural order and carries its own punishment if we insist we know better.

Perhaps our craving for personal control rather than God-control is the real reason we hate slowness: we're jealous of God's ability to generate instant results in anything. We ought to be more concerned about emulating His wisdom to know when those results are most desirable.

And we can only acquire that by pausing regularly to listen to Him.

Tasks of life are never-ending;
When we never pause or rest
Till our work at last is "finished,"
All our days are filled with stress.

God in wisdom gave the Sabbath
For a time to pause each week
So our hearts could find refreshment,
So our souls His way could seek.

Even in our days of working,
Let us pause from time to time
So our hearts can hear His leading,
So our souls His way can find.

Those who rush to "do God service"
Often run so fast and far
That they seek to lead their Leader;
He may not be where they are!

Though His pace seems slow to follow,
Yet our Lord will not delay;
Let Him, in His perfect timing,
Make all things complete someday!

1 comment:

Writing Jo Lawler said...

Thank you. This was such a timely reminder for me. Your writing is always inspiring.

Be Blessed!