No, it’s not what you think. I am no longer a fast runner, unless I am running to my morning coffee before carline. While I used to run fast and far, I now prefer to walk my dog in a much smaller loop. Yet, I find that I still have fleet feet.
I have feet quick to want to flee: to run from discomfort and toward comfort, to run from dependence to independence, to run from waiting into action.
I don’t much like sitting, unless it’s with a book. I buzz around the house from task to task. I rest by walking around thrift stores. I pace on the rare occasions that I have to talk on the phone.
Stillness is hard for me. And if outward stillness is a habit hard for me to sustain, then habitual soul stillness is far harder.
Left to myself, I would rather run into plans of my own making than sit in silence, waiting on the Lord’s plans. Yet, the Lord continually calls His people to wait, to return, to trust, to stay.
God spoke strong words of correction through the prophet Isaiah to His people with fleet feet.
“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they add sin to sin; who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt.” Isaiah 30: 1-2.
We should not be quick to tsssskk God’s people’s foolish fleeing, for we do the same regularly. We run to places that seem logical and strong. Sure, we may not fly to Egypt, but we fly to alcohol or shopping or self-enabled success.
Rather than flee in self-enabled, self-fabricated plans, God calls us to sit in His strength, to wait with eyes fixed on Him.
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30: 15.
Oh, how I long to have a heart like Moses. When God’s people were again acting a’fool, so much so that God was tempted to give them the Promised Land but sever from them His presence (Genesis 33: 1-3), Moses’ response is stunning.
And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.” Genesis 33: 15.
Moses had the chance to settle the people in a plush land. He could have avoided all those years of wilderness wandering with whining people. They could have had the land flowing with honey, grapes the size of dinner plates. But Moses knew that without the Lord, even paradise becomes putrid.
He would rather roam through a drought-stricken land with a stubborn people with the Lord’s presence than sit pretty apart from Him.
I’d rather stay in a stuck place
Than run in wide open fields
of my own making.
Force my fleet feet to stay,
For I am quick to run away.
Force me in YOUR will to lay,
Until that most glorious day.
I’d rather sit imprisoned
Than roam in a freedom
of my own taking.
For paradise without YOUR presence
Would soon become putrid, indeed.
For YOUR face changes every place,
Even deep pits in whence we plead.