It is no secret in our family that I have absolutely no inherent sense of direction. Even with the little N or SW on the car’s information panel, I often don’t know which way to go. Unless I am driving to my grocery store, my office, my church, it would be anyone’s guess about when, or whether, I would get to the place I intended to go. [I call this my “elongated route syndrome” rather than simply saying that I get lost all the time.]
The best example of one of my elongated routes was the subject of an earlier blog entitled The Elongated Trip posted May 23, 2015. I was to go to Bristol, Tennessee from Knoxville in the days before GPS or the voice of Siri directing your travel. This trip is, for almost everyone, about 120 miles. But, for me, on that day, the trip was over 240 miles, not on interstates but rather on state routes through the mountains, valleys and byways of Tennessee and Kentucky.
As you can likely guess, the yellow is the easy route that I should have taken while the green line shows the actual path that I drove.
Bill and I recently drove through Bristol and, since Bill was driving, I could think about that long drive. While the trip was decades ago, I still remember it vividly.
It occurred on a day when frustrations, fears and financial deficits were facing me with full force; it was a day when I was sure that the future was bleak and that there would be no possible rescue. I did not doubt that God loved me, nor did I think that He had abandoned me … I just did not see how any relief would be coming that would help my dire situation.
When we don’t know what to do or where God is directing us to go, we often become anxious, frustrated, and sometimes resentful, thinking that we are just “biding time” while others are active in the ministry that we want to do. After all, we want to get going!
During times such as this, try to back away from the situation and consider whether God might be trying to teach you a lesson. Remember, the Holy Spirit indwells each Christian and it is His job to transform us into the likeness of God’s Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. This transformation occurs by developing the fruit of the Spirit that Paul details in Scripture, such as in Galatians chapter 5. So, look and see where the Holy Spirit is working in your heart, see what God is teaching you.
Think about the lessons in patience that you can learn as you wait for the Lord! Scripture often exhorts us to wait …
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
but they 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.
But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
Think about the lessons in peace and faithfulness that you can learn as you trust God to guide your steps …
The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
… For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
2 Corinthians 1:8-9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
God will lead us as surely as the lighthouse pointed the way to the seafaring voyagers and as specifically as our modern GPS technology allows. (Both are noted in this picture from the Oregon coast, the lighthouse on the left and the GPS on the roof of the adjacent building.)
We usually don’t know why we have an “elongated route” on our road with the Lord. We can’t see His reason for taking us along that way at that time, but we don’t need to know all that. All we need to know is that we are in the Hands of our loving Father.
Charles R. Swindoll said it like this in Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life (Zondervan):
“We’re not supposed to have airtight answers! Why? Because our understanding is earthbound. . . . Our focus is from the ground up. . . . We see now, He sees forever. We judge on the basis of the temporal; He, on the basis of the eternal. . . . His vantage point is infinity.”
Trust this Lord who will teach us lessons while we are going along the “elongated route”. He knows our ultimate destination and He has planned our trip so when we get to our destination, we will have the ability to do the assignment that He has for us to do. The lengthened route may be designed to quiet your soul so that you can hear His voice speaking words of calm, encouragement, direction, and strength into your heart and soul. It certainly did that for me.
The classic hymn “Have Thine Own Way, Lord” expresses the desire to grow in our Lord while we are “waiting, yielded and still”. Here is the hymn as sung on the album Hymns in the Vineyard.
Give Him the keys to your life. And keep your eyes on Him as He directs your path.
Father, I praise Your name for Your faithfulness and patience as You teach me lessons even when I am complaining about having to wait or when I am unsure of where You are directing me to go. Enable me to have faith sufficient to simply hand over the keys to my life to You and then let me ride along on the trip that You have planned out for me. Mold me and make me after Your will, so all can see Christ only always living in me.