Psalm 44:3 (New International Version)
3 It was not by their sword that they won the land,
nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your right hand, your arm,
and the light of your face, for you loved them.
As Frances and I continued our conversation on Saturday, about the pressure I felt at the thought of adding Christmas decorating to my "to do" list--she shared a profound insight; "The God that shows us the path, will also show us the pace at which we are to walk."
Any runner has to pace himself if he wants to make the finish line.
In life there are times when in a burst of focused energy we sprint forward for a period of time, but then we need to drop back to regain energy and strength so that we are ready for the next burst of energy we need to expend. At these times it may look as if we are dropping behind others in the race--but we are running the race with others, not competing against them. In this race our eyes should be on the One waiting for us at the end, not on the one running next to us. In fact, God's plan is for us to support one another in the race so that when one is resting, or wounded, the others will take the lead for a while.
Pace is individual and yet our tendency is to compare ourselves with others and often come up short. Instead our eyes should be on our personal coach, the Lord Jesus, who is able to direct every step and every moment of our lives.
I have high energy friends who accomplish an amazing amount and others who live at a quieter pace. To the outside world, they may not seem to be accomplishing as much, but this is an "earthly" perspective.
God calls each one of us to run the race that he sets before us. Life must have meaning beyond plunging headlong, trying to cram into every single minute, the maximum amount of activity, otherwise we are prone to value lives by the system of the World, which might say that a life with little activity has little value.
That train of thinking has dangerous, deceptive potential and leads to the acceptance of such evils as euthanasia, abortion and so called "mercy killing."
If we aren't careful, our meaning can be derived from flawed values. God's Word says that each life is infinitely precious and has meaning regardless of anything we do.
Consider the example of Jesus, out of whose short lifetime, only three years were spent in public ministry. The thirty years before that were like the part of the iceberg below the surface of the water; perhaps the preparation time. They were thirty years not doing anything that we might think of as significant in terms of activity. And during the three years that he did spend in ministry, he constantly pulled away, spending time in reflection, waiting before God, sometimes walking away from the crowds.
I struggle with pace and am tempted to push the boundaries of healthy habits in my life. It's a good thing to consider God's perspective on this.
A final thought; the Italian word for peace, is "pace."