One of the things I love about traveling is the ability it gives to step into someone else's culture and get a snapshot of how other people live. There's a quote attributed to St. Augustine which goes like this: “The world is a book, and those who don't travel only read one page.” This summer when Chelsea and I were in Europe, the thing that struck me most was the pace of life over there. Each country is different and obviously differences arise within countries, but overall the pace of Switzerland and Italy was far slower than it is in the United States. Even Rome, which I thought would be hectic and rushed, was laid back and relaxed. I realize that Lawrenceburg has a slow pace when compared to the rest of the US but even our quiet town seems to be balancing on a treadmill compared to the places we visited. Of course, expecting to spend a minimum of two hours whenever we went to eat was something that at first was frustrating, but by the time we left, I was getting used to spending a little more time and actually enjoying life.
As I think about the pace of life we are accustomed to in the United States, I can't help but think about how different it is from God's ideal. I don't believe He ever intended us to run around, cramming our schedules and destroying every bit of margin we may have. In the book of Genesis we read that God came down and spent the evenings with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3 tells us what happened that first night after they had eaten the forbidden fruit. "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden" (Genesis 3:8). After they had sinned, they didn't want to spend time with their Creator anymore. But before that, they looked forward to this time of fellowship and relaxation. Walking with their maker in the cool of the day was the highlight of their lives. Even though we can't physically walk and talk with God anymore, He still longs to spend time with us. Only when we slow down, however, can we hear the voice of God calling for us. Won't you create the space needed to spend time with Him today?