Yesterday as me and a handful of leaders left the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, I tossed out one of those thoughtless remarks you offer people when you can’t think of anything else to say:

“Godspeed.”

For some reason, my own words stopped me as a question formed in my mind:

What, exactly, is the speed of God?

My first thought was, the speed of God is too fast. Many times God seems to be pushing me into things before I feel ready. Crises and watersheds seem to unfold faster than I can get a grip on them, leaving me stunned and dizzy in their wake.

My second thought was, the speed of God is too slow. How many times has God chosen not to speak to you right away? How many times has something amazing happened just in the nick of time, beyond the point of no return? Think of Lazarus. Jesus showed up three days late.

My third thought was, the speed of God never seems to match the speed I’m traveling. I’m either falling behind him or getting ahead of him, but rarely “in step” with him (Galatians 5:26). “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD,” in Isaiah 55:8. In practical terms, that definitely means, “My speed is not your speed.”

But back to my first question: What speed is God’s speed, exactly? Here’s the answer as I see it:

God travels at the speed of right. He moves at the right speed. He’s perfect in all his ways, which means he’s never late, never jumps the gun, ever. To live in tune with God, we must adopt “the mind of Christ” and learn to move at the speed of right, “in step with the Spirit.”

This, it seems to me, means a lifetime of adjusting our pace. There will be times when God says, “Too slow.” Other times, he’ll say “Slow down.” I believe many miracles in the making don’t happen because I’ve either gotten there too soon (presumption, impatience) or too late (disobedience, apathy, fear). I also believe God sometimes picks a pace different than ours to force us to acknowledge his lordship and adjust accordingly.

What say you? Love to hear your comments.