The other day I received a letter from my former partner of the laboratory which we owned. The trust that was set up two years ago to oversee the sale and complete liquidation of our former company was being terminated. On the advice of our attorney, all the partners were in agreement that it was unlikely there would be any further legal or accounting services. In this letter, my partner thanked me for my contribution to the venture. He also recounted how this enterprise consumed most of his professional and personal life.
As I reflected on his statement, I reminisced about those formative years in my professional and personal life. It was my first job after residency and fellowship and I eventually became a partner and owner. For 14 years, I absorbed the insights from my fellow partners, gaining valuable experience and wisdom to manage a laboratory business and adroitly deal with personnel and ticklish professional issues. Perhaps the most important lesson I learned, one which I use nearly every day in my own laboratory is this. I have learned to make decisions faster and slower than ever before.
By nature, I can be quick and deliberate in making a decision. While this has generally served me well, especially when an urgent or critical situation arises, at times, it is impetuous, leading to decisions that I have regretted. Had I waited a few hours or days to gather additional information, I would have been better served and a wiser choice may have been made. I have learned to better discern between situations needing an immediate response and those requiring introspective reflection. I have learned patience, acting slower, and I have still had a very long journey ahead of me.
And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Acts 16:6-10 (ESV)
The Book of Acts recounts the exciting years of the nascent Christian Church after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Luke, the good physician and traveling companion to the Apostle Paul, records an interesting and insightful series of episodes during their missionary journeys. In spite of their earlier plans, the Holy Spirit intervenes and prevents them from speaking in the regions of Phrygia and Galatia nor entering the region of Bithynia. Yet, the Holy Spirit redirects them to Macedonia to respond to an urgent request.
Luke does not record the emotions either of them were feeling when the Holy Spirit intervened in their travels. If I was there, I know I would be frustrated. Why are you stopping me, God? Isn’t this what You called me to do? But Macedonia is hot and humid! Thanks be to God that His ways are not our ways. The Apostle Paul and Luke learned an important lesson to be patient and discerning when obeying God’s commands.
Faster and slower.
When obeying God, there is only one pace of decision making. Here I am, Lord, send me.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.