I was driving to get coffee a few weeks ago while my youngest slept in the car and my three year old- well, she was content anyway. I won't lie, these are the carefully orchestrated mommy moments that I dream of.
(I promise I wasn't driving when I took this.)
There were a couple ways to get to my glorious coffee from the highway, but as fate would have it I unwittingly chose the more complicated route. One more obstacle in the way of me and a deliciously self-absorbed moment. I stopped at a red light off the exit ramp and waited patiently for my turn to go. My turn never came. I know I waited a full light cycle because I watched another lane of traffic get a green light a second time as I sat like a schmuck, becoming increasingly anxious to go and flustered by a honk or two. Then I noticed that the oncoming traffic was all stopped like they had a red light- but my light was also still red. Finally I just went. It was clear- I think the stupid light just wasn't triggering.
The issue here is not whether I made a huge driving mistake. (I would just like to see the Job among you who sat out that light any longer.)
But it got me thinking about God, as many things do. See, I daily encounter devices that are set in place by someone else to keep me/others safe. I use a smoke detector to tell me if there is a fire in my house, I go through the metal detectors at airports to prove I am not a threat to others, and I stop and red lights so I don't hit other cars...except this time. I completely ignored a traffic light this one time because I didn't trust it. I stopped believing that it was there to help me go in an orderly fashion without hitting people, and came to believe that it was actually hindering me from driving at all. For all I know that darn light was chuckling to itself as it watched my perplexed, reddened face for three minutes. And to be honest- most of the technology I rely on to keep me safe works great, but not 100% of the time. Red lights get stuck (for lack of a technical term), smoke detectors go off for fires AND burnt weeknight stirfry, and the list goes on. And I realize that if I don't trust something- I ultimately tend to ignore it and do whatever I think is best.
The same holds true for God. I know that following Him leads to life- I believe that if I die to myself and live for Christ I will actually live a more abundant life- "life to the full". But I think sometimes bad things happen- I get sick, I feel overwhelmed by life, my family moves away, money is tight, or I just can't seem to grasp God- and I sort of stop completely trusting God. I still believe He is there, and I still want to follow Him- but I don't understand the circumstances of my life. Maybe I don't understand why He seems to be delaying when I pray to be well- or I ask for directions, but they are vague- when I want something desperately and God seems to be in no rush to allow it. It is at these times that I subtly (or overtly) doubt that God cares about specific situations in my life- or about me- I somehow feel that if God doesn't always come through for me the way I want, then He is distant or broken- frozen on red- and I have to just to keep a control of my own life till I know why God isn't coming through.
But I have to remind myself that, while God promises us an abundant life, He never promises that it will be easy or pain-free, and He certainly doesn't say it will go our way.
8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the Lord.
9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
How could I possibly be better able to take care of my life than the One whose thoughts and ways are beyond what any human could comprehend? Of all the broken, flawed things in this world, Jesus really is the one constant who never breaks- never changes- never fails. Trusting Him means letting go of what I want because I am confident that in His love He has the best possible plan for me- even if it is difficult. It means accepting His red light, even if it means I never quite make it to that coffee.