Living with boys has given us the opportunity of hands-on learning with remote control cars.

The scenario goes like this:

open car package (delightful part)

dig around house to find batteries (boring part)

get battery case on car unscrewed (long part)

place batteries and go outside (exciting part)

short instruction session (boring part again)

take controls and run them at full speed (the best four to twelve minutes of their life)

refuse to be consoled when batteries are exhausted and car sits jauntily on the hill, not to move again.  much shock and denial.

The hard fact is that my sons are learning is that pacing is everything.  Those batteries would last longer if they pulled back on the speed a bit.  But they can’t, of course.  Nor do I want them to.  They want it all, and they want it now.  This is the same truth that marathon runners experience when training is not calibrated to their abilities.  In fact, pacing is crucial to the success of many things that require energy, be it human, electronic, or technological.

And pacing is a hard, hard thing to understand.  The shock and denial when personal energy, personal health, personal resources fail is very real, and often quite painful.

In Isaiah’s time, the people are exiled.  They are soon to return, but they don’t know it yet.  And in that moment when they are weary…when their powers of personal resources, when their faith that life is good is utterly exhausted…God promises this:

Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength,                                            
they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary,                     they shall walk and not faint.

Reading the passage (Isa 40:21-31) more widely (esp verse 28), our First Reading for Sunday, February 5th, we discover that God does not promise God’s people a life of full-steam ahead.  God promises a life at God’s pace.

A loving parent finds new batteries.  And the children grow to understand.

Trusting you to set the pace, Gracious God; we offer ourselves again to follow.  Amen.


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