When we are about to die so much of life looks different. So much former frenzy seems foolish. When we lie on our deathbed, 99% of the jitters of our life look ridiculous.
So why not learn it now? In the words of Isaiah 28:16, “He who believes shall not be in haste.” Trusting in a loving and sovereign God takes the jitters out of life. I have a pastor friend who never seems to be in a hurry but gets gobs of work done. When people are late he does not waste time pacing the floor. When a fuse blows in the middle of the service he does not fret and fume. When things don’t go his way at the board meeting he doesn’t chew his nails off or tense up. You get the distinct impression that he knows something you don’t know. Sort of like the person who’s read the book already and knows the outcome.
His secret is Isaiah 28:16, “He who believes shall not be in haste.” Believes what? That God is God, and is always at work for those who trust him. If God is at work for us when people are late, and when fuses blow and when board meetings don’t go our way—if God is always at work in everything for our good, then why be in a frenzy? Why get the jitters? Why be in haste?
When Paul says, “The life I live, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me,” he means: “Moment by moment I feel confidence that the love which moved Jesus to the cross for me is also moving him now to work in my circumstances for my good.” That’s why Paul could say, “I have learned in whatever state I am to be content" (Philippians 4:11). He believed in the present power and goodness of God and so he was not in haste: no frenzy, no jitters.
Haste makes waste. Waste of peace. Waste of health. Waste of joy. The Lord is never in haste for he has all things under control. What a steady power should mark his people! We dishonor him by our fretful hurrying. The children of the king do not panic when they lose their keys.
Picture a sergeant in Israel’s army at the Red Sea as Pharaoh approaches from behind. He is in much haste and in a great frenzy, flitting about preparing a flotilla, organizing teams to fetch wood and rope and pitch and tools, staying up late, fretting over the lazy workers, bemoaning the shoddy work. Then early one morning a great pain grips his chest, and his left arm goes numb and he becomes nauseous. His workers carry him to his tent atop the hill. And the last thing he sees is the waters of the Red Sea opened with one divine whisper, and the people walking through to safety, leaving his flotilla behind.
Bethlehem, Bethlehem! Your God never sleeps or slumbers. Do not fret or be anxious. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. He is at work for you right now. Trust him. Steady your pace. For “he who believes shall not be in haste.”
Paced by faith,