by Rick Warren — November 3, 2022
From Building a Better Life
“At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time, but keep on waiting—it will happen!”
Habakkuk 2:3 (CEV)
The last few days we’ve been looking at principles for building a better life after seasons of pain, loss, loneliness, and frustration. Today we’ll look at another principle for building a better life after hard times: Engage slowly.
What does it mean to engage slowly after a tough season? It means you shouldn’t be in a hurry. Go slowly. Just because you have the freedom to do something doesn’t mean you should be in a rush to restart it all.
When you are tempted to hurry back into life, here are three things to remember:
1. You don’t have the same energy level that you did before. From experience, I know that going through a hard time is very draining. It’s like attaching light bulbs to a battery. The more light bulbs you attach, the more rapidly the battery drains. So every day that a crisis continues, your energy drains more quickly.
2. God is never in a hurry. There isn’t a single example in Scripture of Jesus running anywhere. When his friend Lazarus was dying, for example, Jesus was only a half day’s walk away. But it took Jesus three days to get to Lazarus. And when he got there, Lazarus was already dead. Why? Jesus knew that God was in charge and that he had a better plan—one that didn’t require Jesus to hurry.
3. God’s timing is perfect. When you get impatient during difficult days and want to speed things along, you need to trust that God knows what he’s doing. In the case of Lazarus, God had a plan that was even bigger than healing Lazarus. God’s plan was to resurrect him! But that plan required Jesus to take things slow and not hurry ahead of God’s schedule.
The prophet, Habakkuk, had a word for people who wanted to hurry back to the way they remembered their life. God said in Habakkuk 2:3: “At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time, but keep on waiting—it will happen!” (CEV).
Wanting to hurry up God’s plan has always been a problem. In the Old Testament, God often had to remind his people that progress is gradual, not instant. I call this the principle of pacing. Part of God’s plan may include a slower timetable than what you or anyone else wants.
One reason God moves slowly is because he knows that delays make you stronger. When the Israelites were headed toward the Promised Land, they met many barriers. But God said, “I will force out your enemies little by little and give your nation time to grow strong enough to take over the land” (Exodus 23:30 CEV). God knew they would only benefit when things happened slowly.
So, remember, there’s no need to flip a switch to make your life go back to the way it was. Instead, use a dimmer to slowly turn things up again, as you completely trust in God’s plan for your life.