Matching God’s Pace
by Rev. Dr. Suzanne Allen
For many of us who lead, it’s in our nature to think we can do it all. We consider it our calling and our responsibility to do something to fix every problem, to care for each need, to comfort and console. Our culture reinforces the idea that action and accomplishment are the highest of virtues. And so especially in a time of crisis, our natural reaction is to spring into action, to do more than we already do, to think of ourselves as the ones who will be the heroes of the day.
This habit is challenging when the clear instruction from our leaders is to slow down, stay inside, even to sit on the couch and binge watch Netflix (or online worship services and prayer meetings)! The anxious need to respond and to do something causes a struggle within.
These words from Isaiah 40 call us to a different approach. They remind us of the news coming to us from other countries about the devastating power of this virus and the information we’re receiving charting the progression of cases of Covid-19 in the US.
If we try to do it all in this pandemic, if we race about trying to be heroes on day one, if we do not listen to the instruction of our leaders and the wisdom of the season of Lent, we will be worn out and weary when we are most needed.
Isaiah teaches us about endurance. These words are about waiting for God’s direction and allowing God to set our pace for this season. They are about discernment and trust. They are about the realization that there are many things in this life, pandemics being one of them, that we cannot manage or fix, or even live through by our own power. No matter how young, how strong, how gifted and action-oriented a leader we are, we will faint and be weary, we will fall exhausted.
We know that things are going to get worse before they get better. This is a difficult reality to grasp. Our words of comfort and hope will be needed even more then than now.
The good news is that we are not alone. God is with us. When we pay attention and wait on God, when we adjust our pace to match God’s pace, and place our hope in God rather than ourselves or anyone else, we realize that God is the one who will lead us and bring us through these difficult days:
“But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Where do you find yourself wanting to act out of anxiety rather than faith? What does it look like for you to “wait upon the Lord”—to match your pace and breath to God’s?
God, even as I want to rush ahead of you in these anxious days, slow me down. Teach me to adjust my pace to your pace, to match my breath to your breath, to trust you and your ways. Grant me the faith and the endurance that I will need to speak your word of hope throughout this difficult season so that not just I, but all your people, will grow in faith and hope and renew our strength, that we might “run and not be weary, walk and not be faint.”
- Where did you act on faith rather than anxiety today?
- How did you “wait upon the Lord”—matching your pace and breath to God’s?
Comment below or use a journal to record how God is with you each day of this journey.
This was helpful this morning. Thank you!
So many of us are used to leaping into action at the very first sign of crisis. Having to pause and wait raises anxiety and feelings of helplessness when we are wired to be “fixers”. Thank you for the reminder to breathe and wait and trust.
Thank you so much for this special insight! I happen to be one of those who are the opposite of what you have described and I have a different set of issues to deal with and as a result sometimes I don’t always understand what the “deal” is with those like yourself, so again thank you for this insight.
This is my third time reading this devotion. Although the prayer is timely, I know this prayer can be used in so many other seasons on my journey. Praise be to God!