For many years now I’ve received Dr. Don Wilton’s The Daily Encouraging Word, or “DEW,” in my inbox every morning. It’s a wonderful little daily devotional with a bite-sized chunk of Biblical Truth attached.
I’m ashamed to admit that due to both my busy schedule and my own spiritual recalcitrance, I do not read DEW daily. Indeed, I have a massive folder in my Hotmail account (yes, yes, go ahead and laugh) called “DEW” with over 1200 unread issues. Gulp!
That’s all to say that it’s serendipitous that this week, The Daily Encouraging Word is going through a series called “Try to Slow Down.”
Talk about God sending the message you need when you need it. It seems like this message, drawn from Isaiah 52:12, was tailor-made for me:
Try To Slow Down Part 1
“You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the Lord will go ahead of you…[and] protect you from behind.”
Isaiah 52:12 (NLT)
Monday, May 2
Have you heard of “hurry sickness”? Those who have it zoom in and out of lanes in congested traffic; try to be the first off the plane, even though they must wait forever at baggage claim; honk at you if you don’t take off like a racehorse when the traffic light turns green; tap their fingers against anything they can find when they have to wait; punch the elevator button repeatedly to attempt to move it faster. They remind us of hummingbirds. These tiny birds can fly forward, then hover in mid-air going nowhere. Their tiny wings can move up to seventy-five times each second! The trouble is, their average life span is only three years compared to an eagle that lives thirty years. What’s the difference? The eagle has learned to conserve its energy by riding the God-given wind currents. The message here is simple: When you draw on the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, you last longer and go higher than you ever dreamed. One pastor said he was a “stress-distributing machine” when he was younger, and everybody around him felt it. One day one of his kids said to him, “Daddy, I’ll try to hurry up and tell you this.” He replied, “It’s okay, honey, you can speak slowly.” After a long pause, he had an “aha” moment when his child said, “Then—listen—slowly!” Deciding to move at a slower pace will definitely improve the quality of your life and your relationships.
There are few things I despise more than “hurry up and wait.” And I especially hate sitting in traffic (it’s part of the reason I moved to Lamar—there are no traffic lights on my morning commute, just two stop signs and one school zone!).
But I do feel as though I am in the proverbial rat race, jetting from one obligation or commitment to the next. There is rarely time left to spend in quietude with God, much less in His Word.
I think many modern Christians share this struggle. It also seems like sermons and messages like these do not always fully appreciate how busy some of us are. It’s easy to say, “Just wake up thirty minutes earlier”; doing it is another matter entirely.
Of course, part of that is conviction—I know I can sacrifice thirty minutes of watching dreck on Shudder to read the Bible and pray. But when evening comes and my long day’s toil has ended (although it usually stretches right up until bedtime), my mind and my heart and not always in a place to struggle with my faith one-on-one with The Big Man.
As I’ve noted before, Christianity is hard. That’s contrary to the feel-good faith that we see peddled from so many pulpits now, in which Jesus is your cool boyfriend who thinks you’re perfect just the way you are. Quite frankly, who we are sucks. We’re worse than filthy rags—without Christ.
That’s the key, and what Doc Wilton says so well in this devotional. Without Christ—without spending that time with Him—we find ourselves running on fumes, burning out like the hummingbird.
With Christ, we soar on the wings of eagles.