Monday, September 1, 2014

The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.

The Word for today:
2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:18
I have a friend named Sara. You can tell she's ultra-cool, just by her name! It's biblical, kinda, with just enough flair to be with it.
Sara, besides being ultra, is also a doll. Don't tell her husband I said so, 'cause that's probably not to be said in a Bible blog. Moreover, he's bigger and badder than I am on my best day, so we'll just keep the doll part a secret.
Sara is like my own ultra cool with-it doll, the Shellster! Both of them abso-lutely fascinate me because I can't get to where they are!
Now you may wonder where that is. They both happen to emit the Christ-like sense that they are precisely Where They're Supposed To Be! I'd pay a pretty penny, even a top dollar, to be able to travel there, but it always eludes me.
Today, for example, I got way out ahead of myself. I was living in tomorrow today, which is distinctly un-Christlike, un-Saralike, un-Shelleylike, un-cool, un-ultra, and decidedly not with it.
I was out ahead of God's plan for me, running too fast, when--lo and behold--a voice from somewhere beyond the blue horizon beckoned, imploring me to slow down for a little while. It was a voice I couldn't ignore, because it was spoken with the quiet authority of a person who's Where She's Supposed To Be. It was Sara!
I don't hear from her every time I turn around, and I can go months on end without seeing her. But I know and heed that voice.
So what I did is--I stopped. I stood fast, as our passage for today implores all of us to do:
Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. (2 Thessalonians 2:15/NKJV)
"Stand fast" is a doll of a phrase, don't you agree! It logically makes no sense, because the first part seems to negate the second part. I mean, how can you stand and be fast?
Well, you can. If you stay right with Jesus--yoked up to him as you work with him--you're exactly where he wants you, going just the right speed:
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30 / NIV)
Another version captures the synergy, the synchronicity, the dance of the yoke:
Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly. (Matthew 11:29-30 / Message)
The Old Testament picture of a man who got way out ahead of God is found in the story of Moses. Forty years before God was ready, Moses was ready to deliver Israel. He slew an Egyptian and delivered one of his Israelite brethren from persecution. He thought he could deliver Israel by himself. He found out that he could not, and God took him to the backside of the desert for special training that would fit him for the job. He learned, out there, how weak he was. He learned to wait for the LORD.
I can run fast, even too fast. My problem, which Sara pointed out, is that I often don't know how to stand fast. Lewis Carroll, in "Alice in Wonderland", described this syndrome:
"The hurrier I go, the behinder I get."
Your problem might be the opposite. You might not be letting the LORD accelerate when he wants to. Further on in our reading for today, Paul implores some of us to pray that the word of the LORD may run swiftly (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
Some of us have to wait for the LORD. We must stand fast-er.
Some have to catch up to the LORD. They must run fast-er.
One way or another, we've got to stay in tandem with Jesus, right Where We're Supposed To Be.

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