For 4 years and 120 episodes, Dr. Richard Kimble (played by David Janssen) ran across the TV screens of America, chasing a mysterious one-armed man that he saw fleeing the scene of his wife’s murder. At the same time, he was running from the law. You see, he had been arrested, convicted, and sentenced to die for the murder but escaped when the train that was carrying him to his execution derailed.
In other words, he was both chasing and being chased.
Aren’t we all?
We chase things like happiness, prosperity, love, education, success, respect and inner peace. At the same time we’re being chased by bills, responsibilities, ailments, enemies, competitors, temptation and guilt. Like Dr. Richard Kimball, we end up living our lives on the dead run, constantly whipping our heads forward and back, never able to find a moment’s peace. Even when we do manage to grab one of the things we’re chasing, we often don’t enjoy it because we still feel the pressure of the hounds nipping at our heels.
Psalm 131 is only 3 verses long, but it offers some wise words for our harried generation:
“Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp. Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, now and always.”
I have calmed and quieted myself…
How did the psalmist do this? Not with some New Age mind trick. Not by numbing himself with drug or drink. No, he did it by refusing to concern himself with things he didn’t understand and couldn’t change even if he did. And by putting his hope in the Lord.
You and I can calm and quiet ourselves the same way. Sure, there’s stuff we have to do. Life will always be a chase. But if we could be more selective about what we’re chasing…if we could prioritize and eliminate the stuff that doesn’t matter and only clutters our minds with worry…and if we could trust God more for the things that are chasing us, we might find that peace isn’t so elusive after all.
For further reflection read Isaiah 30:15 and 1 Thessalonians 4:11.