“Are we in a hurry??”

Dutch’s hackles are up anytime he sniffs out a hurry. I smile. Our Sunday morning routine is always the same. My answer is always the same.

“Nope. As long as you promptly obey me, there’s no rush.”

I kiss the top of his head and send him off to get ready. Funny boy. 

It’s a lesson I’ve reinforced more times than I can count: As long as you obey, there’s no rush. It’s the dawdling and disobedience that cause delays, that leave everyone scrambling to get out the door on time. He hates being hurried, I hate being late, so I’ve learned to give clear directions and adequate time, but also to insist that obedience is prompt.

Prompt obedience … was there ever a more important lesson to learn and more difficult to teach?

This simple principle has been a comfort to me recently, in far more significant ways. I’m reading Genesis again, and am always picking up tidbits of wisdom from Noah’s remarkable Ark adventure. This time around, I scribbled into the margin:

“As long as he obeyed, there was no hurry.”

See, God is SO GOOD at time management. 🙂 He was the only One who knew the exact day and time that the flood would come. Noah didn’t know. But God knew, and He allowed exactly the right allotment of time for Noah to build the ark, and gather the animals. Though the ark-building process was long, Noah stayed on track, diligent and obedient. As far as we know, he didn’t have to rush, stress, hurry, or frantically finish. As the time drew near, God told Noah that he had 7 days to gather the animals. Not a rush, but Noah would certainly need to stick to task in order to be ready on time.

No time for dawdling and disobedience. 

Sometimes I get these ideas, thoughts, dreams, of things God might do. It seems like a near-infinite number of tasks to complete, things we need to do, ways we need to prepare. We’ve wrestled through decisions on how to allocate time and financial resources, because a lot depends on a future we do not know.

But God knows. And recently, I was praying through all these things, and sensed this truth again:

As long as you obey, there is no hurry.

Quite frankly, it is impossible to prepare for a future you do not know. I don’t know what our country will be like, what the economy will be like, what my children’s educational needs will be, who all our property will need to house.  We do not know the future, so it’s futile to rely on our own limited knowledge in order to prepare.

But as long as we obey, there is no hurry. 

Perhaps the most critically important skill to learn, as a follower of Jesus, is prompt and unquestioning obedience.

Right??

Now, I still have far to go in teaching–and practicing–this, of course. But I was reminded the other day of a game I used to play when the kids were toddlers. During the day, I would practice giving them a command, out of the blue.

“Dutch, go touch the front door! Heidi bring me that blue block!”

Yes, they were arbitrary commands, but it was an opportunity for them to learn prompt obedience, and for me to praise their efforts, in an environment that wasn’t rushed, stressed, or public. And when they didn’t obey (which was plenty), we had ample time to practice. I had forgotten all about those little games, but the other day, a friend sent me a note:

I’m reading a book called Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery by astronaut Scott Kelly. It reminded me of you talking/writing about helping Dutch & Heidi learn obedience by having them go and touch the front door when you asked. This astronaut wrote, “It occurs to me now that following directions that seemed arbitrary was good early training for being an astronaut.” Besides faithful servants of the Lord, perhaps you have some astronauts in the making. 🙂

My kids and I are far from perfect in this area, of course, but what’s struck me recently is that there is comfort in obedience.

As long as I obey, there’s no rush. My Father has me on His Timeline. If I’m listening, He’ll tell me what to do and when. I don’t have to fear that I’ve missed it somehow. I don’t have to fear being unprepared for His call. As long as I have a heart inclined to obedience, I can rest. I can find comfort in that.

Anyone else need that reassurance???

Friend, take comfort in obedience. If you lean in close, kick sin to the curb and listen carefully to His Word, HE WILL LEAD YOU. He will light the way, make your path straight, and give you the step-by-step instructions that you need. There’s no rush. He’s a Good Father. You don’t have to have the future figured out, just promptly obey His voice today.

{Thanks for reading.}

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  • Paul Hunter

    “It is impossible to prepare for a future you do not know.” Wow … preparation for the future is not having all the answer. The best preparation for the future is in believing that God is good and He is okay with the risks we take. Delay is often the result of doubt. “It is impossible to prepare for a future you do not know.” This was a good kick in the pant to pray big and live big in 2018. Thanks.

  • This post couldn’t have been more timely as I am praying for direction concerning 2018. Obedience even when it feels arbitrary is my key take away. Thanks!

  • I so needed this today. I’m beginning to write a book, and felt “rushed” somehow; but on the other hand, I sensed God saying, “Just stay in step.” I guess that’s another way of saying, “Keep on obeying, one step at a time.” This brought me great confirmation and relief tonight. Thanks, Kari.

    • Renee Sebring

      Such a good reminder to look to the Lord as we face our daily routines. Thanks for the highlight on this article, it seems appropriate for some of my own history of not keeping track of time (procrastinator), and for my daughter with her frustrations in dealing with her ‘dawdling’ 5 year old daughter. Maybe she can help train her to be aware of this tendency to help her later in life, while there is ‘time’. Renee

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