God’s Speed and Haste-Driven Humanity

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*By Paul Ejime

Almost from infancy, humans are made to think and believe that “time waits for no one” and that “time is of the essence,” hence the idiomatic expression “to make hay, while the sun shines.”

With this emphasis on haste, the exhortation “to make haste slowly,” is considered an afterthought, such that impatience virtually controls most human thinking and activities.

Thanks to human inventions dating back more than 6,000 years, time and timekeeping, have evolved from manuscripts to clocks of the modern civilization and the present digital era.

There were the Medieval Automata and Hourglasses, Book of Hours, Water glasses (mechanical clocks), Sundial of Ancient Egypt, with the creation of the first obelisks, to the well documented efforts of Greek and Roman engineers of the 13th and 14th centuries, which were expanded by the works of Galilio Galilei and Christian Huygens, who introduced the pendulum.

Several authorities on time keeping credit, the German inventor Peter Henlein with the introduction of the spring-driven first modern clock around 1511, the rest, they say, is history.

With modern digital devices, time is today determined with greater precision or accuracy, even as scientists continue with research for more innovations. Time, like money, is not bad or evil in itself. But the issue is how this is deployed/used.

Respecting time or arriving on time to events/appointments will always be better than being late, which makes the saying: “better late than never,” a lazy excuse. But we must also resist the temptation of being in so much haste, thereby ruining our mission or activities through impatience.

In this Special Season, I would therefore like us to reflect on the need to make time a servant, not our master. There is no suggestion here of giving to unnecessary prevarication, complacency or postponement of what ought to be done now for later, or today till tomorrow.

But too much haste has led to many wrong decisions. The flip side to haste is patience and moving with God’s Speed. This will enable us to internalize, think through and respond to life issues/challenges with the assurance that once we have done our human possible best, God is the Author and Completer.

In most cases, including during prayer – which is communication with God – we are in so much hurry that we only present our charter of demands to God, without listening to what He is saying to us. Instead of the breakneck speed, can we pause, take a deep breath; listen to God and appreciate the environment around us, in full knowledge that we cannot do anything without God’s knowledge or consent/approval?

Still, whether in the banking or cinema halls or at the supermarkets, we are in a haste, at the airport we are pressed for time, in places of worship we cannot wait to zoom off. Parents are so occupied or stressed; they have no time for proper up-bringing of their children.

The cleric rushes his prayers and activities and has no time for the many urgent needs of members of the congregation; employers are so profit-conscious, the welfare of their employees does not matter; the teacher is preoccupied with making ends meet at the expense of the quality of knowledge to be imparted; and the pupil/student is abandoned to his/her fate and devices in the hostile, uncaring and fast-moving society.

There is nothing wrong with being ambitious. But a teenager who is already dreaming of owning a state-of-the-art car and a mansion without completing his/her secondary education is on a dangerous route to perdition.

The result of our haste-driven society is a dysfunctional nation characterized by anti-social vices, and an unstable and conflict-ridden world, which everyone turns round to complain about.

No doubt, you might be pressed for time to attend a career-changing job interview, or to keep an appointment for the negotiation of once-in-a-life-time contract, or might be running late to a prayer session/service. But being consumed in undue haste is unlikely to change anything.

The Good Samaritan in the Bible is an eloquent example. The Priest and the Levite passed by the man attacked by bandits who left him at the point of death.

But the Samaritan who probably had a more pressing schedule, stopped to take the stricken man to a care home, made a deposit for the man’s treatment and continued on his journey with a promise to pay the balance on his way back home.

In our haste to catch an urgent flight at the airport, does it ever occur to us that the announced “delay” could be because of a life-threatening issue, such as the pilot taking ill? Would you rather risk flying with a sick or an amateur pilot?

Without making any excuses for avoidable delays or lateness, the reason for “delays” in some cases might be for our own good.

Several survivors narrated their experiences of how they “escaped” potential death in the U.S. September 2001 bombings that levelled three tall buildings.

One of the stories involved a man who said he had problems with his hurtful pair of shoes, which he had returned to his nearby apartment to change when the explosions hit the floor housing his office.

My point is that patience or making haste slowly (God’s speed), makes us considerate of others and permits us to pause and listen to God’s guidance.

Patience also allows for introspection, planning and measured responses (not reaction) to events/issues!

Patience can and does save lives just like haste can and does result in regrets. Scripture tells us that God our Creator worked and also rested.

We must learn to be patient; make time to rest from the vanity rat race; and reconnect with our Creator in prayers; re-energize and trudge on under His omnipotent guidance!

Allow me to remind us of the 5P’s of Effective Communication – Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance, as I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, 2023 and God’s Speed in our individual and collective life journeys.

Compliments of the Season!

*Paul Ejime is a Global Affairs Analyst, and a Consultant on Communication, Media Development, Peace & Security, and Elections

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