Footsteps to Follow: Shortcuts and short-change
Psalm 40:1 is “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry” (NIV).
In our fast-paced and over-scheduled lives, we often find ourselves taking short cuts to save time, but that is not always a good thing.
Over the last year and a half, my wife and I had to make multiple trips to Houston, Texas, for treatments. Due to the pandemic and also the side effects of treatments, flying was out of the question. So we made the drive to Houston and back six times every eight weeks. The drive was long and hard. When the COVID-19 restrictions were loosened and the airline held a sale, we made the decision to fly. We anticipated all the time and money we would save in our travels.
That was a mistake.
Everything about that trip was more difficult and overcrowded. The shortcut cost us a lot more than just time and money. The trip that was supposed to be easier and faster was everything but. We missed the time that the long drive gave us to be alone with each other and to talk with each other. We missed seeing new sights along the way, along with the experiences and memories that they would have created. So much was lost because we decided to take a shortcut.
This whole experience reminded me of a lesson I learned while working retail several years ago. At the end of the shift, we had to balance our cash register. If it was off, it was best if the drawer was short, not over. If the drawer was over, that meant at some point a customer was short-changed, and he/she did not receive the full amount of change. That is what this trip felt like to us; we were short-changed.
As a society and culture, we do not like to wait. We do not even have the time or luxury to wait. This is evident by the number of drive-through services and next-day shipping guarantees that we demand. But when we look at the miraculous events that unfolded in scripture, we see that many of them are filled with opportunities to wait, even if the people were in a hurry.
Abraham had to wait twenty-five years for a promised son, Joseph waited two years in prison, Moses wandered the desert for forty years, and David waited fifteen years from when he was anointed king until he was actually installed as king.
All of these stories demonstrate that shortcuts never work when you are trying to achieve great things. God walked with all of these people as they learned hard but valuable lessons that were needed in time of leadership and obedience.
Shortcuts always short-change us in one way or the other. All things take time, especially change. Enjoy the journey, be patient for the Lord, and trust in Him. He is faithful.
Pastor Brian M. Moyer, Trinity United Methodist Church, 1407 Allegheny St., Jersey Shore