The Lord is My Pace Setter

Last night I started reading [amazon_link id=”1853457671″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Maybe Tomorrow[/amazon_link] by Tony Miles, Deputy Superintendent of London’s historic Methodist Central Hall. It’s an inviting collection of reflections, verses and prayers to end the day with. A few pages in I was captivated by this reworking of Psalm 23 by the Japanese poet Toki Miyashina:

The Lord is my pacesetter, I shall not rush.

he makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals.

He provides me with images of stillness

which restore my serenity.

He leads me in ways of efficiency,

through calmness of mind,

and his guidance is peace.

Even though I have a great many things to

accomplish this day,

I will not fret,

for his presence is here.

His timlessness,

His all-importance,

Will keep me in balance.

He prepares refreshment and renewal

in the midst of my activity

by anointing my head with the oil of tranquillity.

My cup of joyous energy overflows.

Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours,

for I shall walk in the place of my Lord,

and dwell in His house forever.

Having visited Japan, seen its rushing masses and its countryside overgrown with car parks and shopping malls, this is a wonderful version of the original Psalm for a society that knows little of ‘pastures’ and ‘shepherds’. But it’s more than that. It is a reminder for anyone like me who so easily gets caught in the grip of rush and hurry, of the unhurried nature of God and his un-rushed ways of guidance.

It reminds me of something [amazon_link id=”0743255097″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]JB Phillips[/amazon_link] once noticed about Jesus:

‘His task and responsibility might well have driven a man out of his mind. But He was never in a hurry, never impressed by numbers, never a slave of the clock. He was acting, as He said, as He observed God to act—never in a hurry.’

I need to sit with this for a while.

The Lord is my pacesetter, I shall not rush.

He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity

by anointing my head with the oil of tranquillity.

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Question: How do you live this? What practices have you found most helpful for ‘resting in God’? Leave a comment now.

Comments:

  • February 7, 2013
    Anonymous

    Hm first, Before I try and think of what my wise, unhurried spiritual practices might be… a bit of a confession. Just yesterday I found myself under great pressure with a number of deadlines looming in my day. Knowing intellectually that in these moments it’s good to stop and worship the Lord and sit in His presence, I sat on my bedroom floor and started worshipping God  – with my mouth and my head but not with my heart. I caught myself, stopped, then got honest with God. “Lord I am sitting here ‘worshipping’ you, purely in order to make my day more efficient. That stinks! I’m sorry Lord.” Then started to really talk to him . And while it didn’t turn into a blissful, peace-filled hour of adoration in the holiest of holies, it did become an honest time of prayer, and a handing over of my day with no answers on how to handle what was ahead except a knowing that the Lord is with me, and a knowing that that is enough.
    Upon reflection (i have only just realised this right now), I then got a call from a client cancelling a meeting which freed up my day drastically. It was a good day.
    God is so good. Truly He is the author of “harmony and effectiveness”.

    I am finding more and more that when I stop and just allow myself time for enjoying things like a cup of tea, a bit of Facebooking, a read, a cruise through my favourite fashion website, a bike ride with my hubby, cooking something yummy because I feel like it, time to chat and laugh with my family, or dropping the work schedule in a heap to help a friend in urgent need… Or, indeed, time just curled up on the lounge “sitting” with the Lord or worshipping Him… He tends to shift things around to spakfill the gaps of inefficiency I leave in my wake, because He wants us to have these times of enjoyment and serenity and joy, not just absorption in efficient work.

    These things sound simple but I have spent a fair chunk of my life denying such things, in order to work harder more and “be more efffective” (?!) …So its a growing revelation to rediscover that life consists of many wonderful and colourful things, not just work efficiency.

    How wonderful that Jesus came to show us that “rest, stillness and serenity” are a large feature of the wonderful life He would love us to enjoy.

    Thanks Sheridan for this awesome post! Its been a nice little reflection.

    xClare

    reply
    • February 8, 2013

      That’s brilliant, Clare. Stop, rest, play a little, unhurriedly ‘be’ with God… and watch him amend your daily agenda.

      reply
  • February 8, 2013
    Andrea P

    The reworking of Psalm 23 is really good.  I use a devotional book called, Jesus Calling, which is the compilation of Journal entries by a missionary.  I find this helps me focus my thoughts on God and quiets my inner voice, so I can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.  At the moment I don’t do this everyday, but that is my goal.  Thanks for sharing the poem.

    reply
    • February 8, 2013
      Anonymous

       That’s a brilliant little book! A friend and myself both got great strength from that devotional book in our respective tough times. It spoke lots of tranquility to me.
      I recently saw an amazing documentary on the Amish community of America. Everything about their lifestyle seemed so rigid, old fashioned and unfamiliar, until I saw one of them give a gift to a visitor – that same devotional book, Jesus Calling! I realised, no matter our spiritual traditions , we can all stop , have a quiet moment, and connect with Jesus. In the incredibly diverse and messy body of Christ, that is what, or “Who”, binds us all together.

      reply
      • February 12, 2013

        I keep hearing about this book! Must check it out. Thanks Andrea. 
        And Clare, you might be interested to know that the author, Sarah Young, is a missionary in Perth, Western Australia. If we were back looking after Open House, I could see us putting Sarah on the office big white board guest list :).

        reply
  • February 10, 2013
    Sue

    Hi, just reading the re working of the Psalm and all the comments has quietened my spirit. I have begun to meditate on scripture and found it to be very challenging in showing me the depth of God’s promises to us in His word. I began with “Be still and know that I am God”, spoken and sung so often but rarely being obedient to what it is asking of us. An invitation to BE STILL and know that God IS in control no matter how we feel. There are seasons in our lives when things seem out of control and we are being battered both emotionally and physically to the point of not knowing what direction we should be going in. For me this New Year has offered me a” blank sheet of paper” having been “in recovery” from a very stressful job and I have been reminded of this scripture more than once before I actually took some time out to do what it says. Almighty God is on our case!! No matter how frantic our lives get we can find that place deep within where the Peace of God can be found. There is a wonderful song by Chris Bowater ” In the stillness I settle my heart in silence patiently waiting for you adoring you. In each moment touched by the hand of mercy drawn by transforming beauty, I worship you ……..

    reply
    • February 12, 2013

      That’s great, Sue – thank you for sharing your experience. Isn’t it common that a stressful event forces us to relearn this message of being still before God and recognising He’s in control. That is my experience so often and I want to instead regain a practice of stillness before Him, whatever the life events.

      Hope God writes a great story on the ‘blank page’ of this year for you. As you’ve said, He’s on the case.

      reply

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