Kids, being kids, like to run—in the house, down the stairs, over toys, and at the pool. “Slow down!” wary parents demand. Why? What’s wrong with speed?
Well, little students who want to rush through homework make careless mistakes. Little swimmers who want to speed along on slippery concrete aren’t aware of the danger.
Walking can also be preferable to running because it gives you an opportunity for greater awareness of your surroundings.
When my wife and I are riding our motorcycle, I like to go fast through the mountainous curves. That’s my adrenaline rush and it feels good. I often catch myself enjoying the ride but aware that my wife, seated behind me, prefers to take in the scenery. And it’s harder for her to do that when she’s holding on tightly as I lean the bike into a curve. I’ll try to remember this, honey 🙂
God often influences the pace of his people with precise, loving care.
He told the Israelites that they should walk in the wilderness for 40 years, and then told their army to conquer Jericho by walking around it instead of attacking it with weapons. Why? Because this slower pace meant that they could discover some important things along the way. Things about God, and themselves, and faith, and humility, and God’s faithfulness and love.
God worked it out so that Joseph and Mary had to walk to Bethlehem at the inconvenient last minute for Jesus’ birth, and then to Egypt, and then finally home to Nazareth. Jesus walked to the hill of death carrying his own cross, and after he rose from the dead he walked on the road to Emmaus with two disciples who would later exclaim, “Were not our hearts burning within us while Jesus talked with us on the road” (Luke 24:32)?
The people on these journeys wouldn’t have planned for them, but when they experienced the journey and found God in it, they discovered truth. Their awareness of reality—the way things really work under God’s loving supervision and saving work—grew into new appreciation. An awareness and appreciation that they might have missed if they had been running or riding too fast. Or hadn’t journeyed at all.
The Israelites discovered an awesome God, strong in his promises, and loyal in his love. Jesus discovered that strength from his Father was something he needed, being fully human and completely humble, so that he could save sinners.
Don’t speed through everything trying to implement every life hack and take advantage of every convenience. Don’t overload your schedule. Slow down. Walk more. Sometimes, God may just make that happen for you without it being your choice. He’s telling you something. Slow down and listen.
Sometimes, as we bikers like to say, the journey is the destination.
PRAYER: Dear loving and life-changing God, you are so eager for me to discover new paths, and I am often eager to run past them seeking my smaller detours. Help me slow down. Open my heart to see and be more aware. And send your Spirit to walk with me. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Study the following verses under the theme of “walk.” What are the different meanings and benefits of walking? Galatians 5:16, Ephesians 5:2, Colossians 3:7, 1 John 1:6-7, Revelation 21:24.