pedestrians-400811_1280By Dr. Harold Sala

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1

Are you living faster than ever before and enjoying it less? Packing more and more into every day?  If your life has become a rat race with the rats winning, there are plenty good reasons for it. Listen up!

When Noah and his family came off the Ark, the fastest speed that a human could go was the speed of a horse–about 30 miles an hour, running “wide open.”  By the time of Abraham, centuries later, the speed record still held–same thing: as fast as a horse or camel could run.  More than a millennium later, the fastest a person could go remained the same. Advance the clock for two millennia to the beginning of the twentieth century, and, surprising as it may seem, things hadn’t changed much. In the early hours of a winter morning in the year 1901, Guglielmo Marconi wafted a radio signal through the air at incredible speed, but the fastest speed of man was still the same, about the speed of the fastest horse.

In the past century, however, speed and life itself began to move at unprecedented, incredible speeds.  In 1903 modern aviation was born as the Wright brothers got their first aircraft off the ground. But that wasn’t as fast as a horse could run. It flew at nine miles an hour. In 1908 Henry Ford rolled his first car off the production line–a black Model T Ford, and with it, the speedometer moved up to about 30 miles an hour.

Eventually aeronautical engineers began to produce planes that flew faster and faster, and then in 1947, a test pilot by the name of Chuck Yaeger broke the sound barrier, flying 662 miles per hour.  To break out of the orbit of planet Earth requires a speed of 30,000 miles an hour, and when Neil Armstrong did it in 1969, Earth could no longer hold us captive.

Is it any wonder that we are living faster and enjoying it less?  So why do we go faster, live faster, and do more and more?  Because you can!  From the days when you took your bicycle or skateboard to the top of the hill and flew down as fast as you could, or strapped on your skis and raced your brother to the bottom, you went for it.  Only sissies lagged behind.

In the 1980s IBM and Osborne began to produce personal computers, which at first were toys of the gadget boys, the techies, who had to have the latest electronic toys.  Then gradually, however, mass production and silicon chips teamed up to bring prices down and efficiency up, bringing computers within reach of the average person.  Then came the smaller versions of computers—cell phones, I-pads, and what have you.

Our language has taken on the terminology which reflects the speed at which we live–clock speed, multitasking, 24/7 (that’s twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week). You now text instead of e-mail or one of the many new social media.

Question: How many things do you attempt to do at the same time?  You are in the kitchen, you are listening to the TV, you are attempting to help your kids with their homework, and you’re thinking–you can’t shut that off.  You are planning your day tomorrow including the phone calls tonight that you still have to make.

Now here’s the real question: If you are living faster than ever before, is it your choice?  Or like a snowball rolling downhill, has life picked you up and compacted you and your time to the extent that you are out of control–the clock and your schedule control you?  If so, it’s time to break out of the speed trap.

Resource reading: Luke 4:1-13