Harried and hurried
It’s always “next.”
The next appointment. The next game. The next homework assignment. The next meal. The next day.
I find myself not only busy but harried. Now there’s a word I can’t use anymore for the top of my head. It is most definitely less hairied than it used to be. OK. Different word, but let’s not brush this off. Let’s comb through the different definitions of harried…
Same as harassed.
Rushed; panicked; overly busy or preoccupied.
troubled persistently especially with petty annoyances
Anyone with a smartphone or watch would have to confess that harried describes the incessant ping of notifications, texts, and reminders that hound us. “Petty annoyances?” Check. “Overly… preoccupied?” Check.
We’re not only harried, but we are also hurried.
We travel through distractions as unthinkingly as we breathe. Our day is not full of measured, considered and well-timed moments. It’s full of distractions, and we must also hurry in order to get to… next.
What do you need to do to stop and reassess your pace and your space?
If there’s one thing I think everyone would admit after a moment of pondering, it’s that Jesus Christ never hurried. In all the gospels, we don’t have a single recorded instance of Jesus frenetically rushing from place to place. It helps when you’re God incarnate, of course. When you’re God, you know what’s next.
That’s why it’s good to trust Him. He not only knows what’s next for others. He knows what’s next for you.
While the records of Jesus’ life are full of people hoping Jesus would hurry,Jesus displayed the remarkable ability to move from one thing to the next with deliberateness. He demonstrated anger and compassion appropriately. He was never harried or hurried.
I think of all the times that I’ve wanted Jesus to hurry - the times where my prayerful cries were met with profound silence from God. Is He oblivious? No. He knows what’s next, and sometimes a “no” or a “not yet” in response to my hurried appeals is the absolute best thing I need to combat my own harried heart. He has compassion for me and on me, but He is not moved by my own hurry.
Prayer is the antidote to harry and hurry
Let me share one directive from Peter (who knew Jesus well) and one incident that reveals how important prayer is to combat petty annoyances and being overly preoccupied.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.”
That’s the directive. Cast. You cast through prayer. I preached on this back in January 2020 (which I find surreal in light of the subsequent events of that year).
The incident was in a garden on the night that Jesus was betrayed. The next day, Jesus would be crucified. If there was a time to feel harried or hurried, this was it for Jesus. And yet, we’re told that He prayed. He prayed hard. And He invited His disciples to pray as well. They could not stay awake to pray, however. I don’t really fault them. Who among us can pray all night at a moment’s notice?
Jesus faced a crazy schedule with lots of demands and interruptions (some even petty) with prayer. This incident on the night before He’s crucified is not an anomaly. Jesus began each day with prayer.
Prayer calms the soul, helps us cast our cares, and prayer reminds us of the One who faced death and sin for us.
In a world full of harry and hurry, prayer will carry us through. There is a God who loves us, who knows what’s next, and who is Able to respond with patient purpose when our hearts cry, “Hurry, Jesus!”
I think of Jairus, a leader in the synagogue who approached Jesus in Mark 5:23, and in a harried and hurried manner, said, “My little daughter is dying. Come and lay your hands on her so that she can get well and live.” The context reveals that he was literally correct. She was dying at that moment. So his urgent appeal to Jesus was more like, “Hurry, Jesus!” And yet, Jesus stopped to have a conversation with a woman along the way after she had secretly reached out and touched his robe as He passed. Meanwhile, Jairus was beside himself with panic. Read the story.
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) Other translations make it clear that verse 7 belongs in the same thought as verse six which urges our humility in order to release our anxiety and care upon Jesus. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7 CSB) How do you cast? Through prayer. And it’s not a fishing cast, where you reel the line back to you with the care/anxiety still attached. It’s a throwing-it-away cast… submitting it to God and telling yourself, “OK. I’ve cast this. Now, oh soul, release it from your own care into God’s.”