“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways . . .” -Psalm 37:7
There was a period of time in my life when as a much younger man I got in a big hurry, attempting to fast-track my career in order to keep up with, and move ahead of my peers. Chalk it up to ambition, but in retrospect my haste sometimes caused more setbacks than advancements, such as the time I uprooted my family for an “opportunity” in another city. What I thought would surely lead to a giant leap in my career, thus my family’s financial wellbeing, turned out to be a near disaster. Fortunately – and literally by the grace of God – my mistake got redeemed and all turned out well. But how much better off I might have been had I remained slow and steady and waited patiently before the Lord.
There is no better illustration of this than the story of “The Tortoise and the Hare”, one of the best known and most beloved among Aesop’s fables. So the story goes, “The hare was once boasting of his speed before the other animals. ‘I have never yet been beaten,’ said he, ‘when I put forth my full speed. I challenge any one here to race with me.’ The tortoise said quietly, ‘I accept your challenge.’ ‘That is a good joke,’ said the hare, ‘I could dance around you all the way.’ ‘Keep your boasting till you’ve won,’ answered the tortoise. ‘Shall we race?’ So a course was fixed and a start was made. The hare darted almost out of sight at once, but soon stopped and, to show contempt for the tortoise, lay down to have a nap. The tortoise plodded on and plodded on, and when the hare awoke from his nap, he saw the tortoise just near the winning-post and could not run up in time to save the race. Then the tortoise said, ‘Slow and steady wins the race.’”
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways.” In my case, it was not that I was the hare; rather it was that I got in a hurry from fretting when others succeeded in their ways, instead of being still before the Lord and waiting patiently for him. Thankfully that near demise of my career served as a wakeup call, awakening the tortoise within me. It reminded me to go at my own God-given pace rather than someone else’s. For as the wisdom of the tortoise teaches us, “Slow and steady wins the race.”