As children, we loved hearing three words shouted in slow succession before running a race on the playground: “Ready . . . Set . . . Go!” But have you ever been running along at top speed and heard the signal: “Ready . . . Set . . . Stop”?

Howard Westlund, a busy pastor in the Chicago area, told about such an experience. In a letter to his congregation, he said, “I was ready for a full evening which would include involvement with our youth group. Then it happened: ‘Ready . . . Set . . . Stop!'”

Howard was rushed to the hospital with a severe leg infection. During that time, he remembered a paraphrased version of today’s text: “The Lord orders our starts and our stops.” Yes, that busy pastor had been brought to an abrupt halt.

Later Pastor Westlund wrote, “I wasn’t ready for a stop. How do you get ready for the thing you’re not ready for? I hadn’t missed a service due to sickness in 25 years! When God tells us to stop, we can fuss and complain and argue how much we are needed in the ‘go’ position. Or we can just wait, with a growing trust that He does all things well.”

Howard chose the latter and learned that continuing to trust God is the only way to get ready for the things we’re not ready for. Have you learned that vital lesson?