Zowie, did he live and
Zowie did he die;
Bam got married;
Bing had children;
Zowie did he live and
Zowie did he die.
We move so fast that we should make it to Heaven, if we don’t run past! The Bible has much to say about us changing our pace.
Christ told His disciples: “‘Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while’: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat” (Mark 6:31).
Obviously, the disciples were stressed, tired, and hungry. The Lord knew that if they did not come apart, eat and rest, they may just come apart!
Millennia ago, biblical Jeremiah had learned the importance of waiting. He said, “I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.’”
He continued: “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him: it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lamentations 3:24-26).
The poet declares:
By all means use some time alone;
Salute thyself, see what thy soul doth wear;
Dare to look in they closet, for ’tis thine own,
And tumble up and down what thou findest there.
Like the battery on our automobile, our soul must be recharged. If we want to really know God, we must spend quiet times with Him.
Charles “Chuck” Swindoll, the well-known radio and television speaker, wrote: “I am desperately concerned that we slow down, quiet down, and gear down our lives so that intermittently each week we carve out time for quietness, solitude, thought, prayer, meditation and soul-searching.”
He stated further: “You know something? That still small voice will never shout. God’s methods don’t change because we are so noisy and busy. He is longing for your attention, your undivided and full attention.”
Swindoll concluded: “He wants to talk with you in times of quietness (with the TV off) about your need for understanding, love, compassion, patience ... and wisdom. But He won’t run to catch up. He will wait and wait until you finally sit in silence and listen.”
God says to all of us: “Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10).
Matopo Hill was a famous Christian statesman of South Africa in another century. He got a lot of things done for his country, as well as for Christ.
Nonetheless, he felt the press of time, so he wrote his epitaph and had it later placed on his tombstone: “So much to do; so little done: goodbye.”
The Prophet Isaiah is poetic as he promises: “God will watch quietly from His Temple in Jerusalem — serene as on a pleasant summer day or a lovely autumn morning during harvest time.”
It would seem that upon his dramatic conversion and call, the Apostle Paul would have begun immediately to spread his newfound faith. He had an excellent background in Tarsus and knew a great deal about many things.
Nonetheless, Paul felt the need of some personal preparation. His conversion was an upheaval in his life, and it was essential that he withdraw for a while and calmly survey the changed conditions and decide upon his future action.
Like Saint Augustine, who after conversion retired to a country house where for a season he “found rest in God from the fever of the world,” Paul withdrew from society.
He went to Arabia, quite probably to Mount Sinai. We do not know how long he stayed there, but some think he spent three years in seclusion (see Galatians 1:11-18).
The problem that pressed Paul was the value of the ancient Law and the attitude he should have toward it since his conversion to Christianity.
In that historic scene — “where,” as Keble says, “all around on mountain, sand, and sky, God’s chariot-wheels had left distinctest trace,” Paul communed with God.
It must have been at Sinai that the apostle thought out the question and attained the conviction that the Law was a temporary institution, designed not to cure but to discover the plague of sin.
Our Lord was the Son of God, but He did not rush into His work. After His encounter at the Temple at the age of twelve, it would seem to have been an opportune time to announce that this child prodigy was in fact the Messiah. But we know that is not what happened.
Years later, when it was time for Him to enter His public ministry, Jesus still retired to the wilderness of Judea. There He passed forty days in solitary communion and spiritual conflict.
Today He calls to all of us, “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).