Sometimes it is hard not to get mad while driving. The other day I pulled out of McDonald’s and back into traffic. Only there was no immediate traffic in front of me – except the Expedition that pulled out just before me. The road was clear – from what I had seen – but he insisted on going 30mph in a 45mph zone. So I got impatient and a little irritated in my confusion about our speed.
And isn’t that they way we get with God? We get mad at Him and maybe even try to punish Him. Because He isn’t answering our prayers now. Because He seems to be ignoring us. Because He isn’t giving us what we want. Because sometimes He outright tells us “no”.
But we forget one very important and hard hitting truth in this (bad) attitude. We can only see what is directly in front of us.
All I could see that night was the Expedition going slower than I wanted. I could not see what was in front of him. I could not see the red light and the stopped traffic we were approaching. There was no hurry needed, since we had to stop quickly. But because I could not see it, I had a limited view of my reality – and reacted according to that view. And I was wrong.
It’s the same with God. He has an omniscient and eternal view of our lives. We have the outer pieces of the puzzle, while He knows and places all the inner pieces. He knows every consequence of every decision. He knows we can be (are) one step away from sin and destruction (Genesis 4:7). He knows we are easily tempted away from the right way (James 1:14). He knows we will tend to be selfish and self-seeking.
And He would love to spare us the shame and pain of the negative consequences of our decisions. He would love for us to always act, speak, and think right and good. His desire is for our life to be filled with only blessings.
But He still lets us choose which way we will go. Knowing we will make bad choices. And knowing we will blame Him for the results – even though the choice as ours. Even though we wouldn’t think through the possible outcomes. Even though we only briefly considered that someone would be hurt. Even though we had no idea the impact we would have on tomorrow. Even though we were too proud to concern ourselves with people’s feelings and too stubborn to care about damaging relationships.
Even though He is God – and He knows what is best for us, both now and in the future. Even though He has a great life for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and has already planned out the best route for us to get there (Psalm 37:23). Even thought He is the only One with a full perspective to know which way to go (Isaiah 55:8-9).
So we have to realize we don’t have enough perspective – or sense – to know where God is guiding us. We have to completely trust in His plan, consistently remember His faithfulness, and faithfully follow Him. Because we know He sees beyond our tears, our pain, our hurt, our fears, our self assurances, our ego (pride), our doubts, our past, and our present – to who we can be in (with) Him.
But in the present moment, I cannot see – or even conceive – of the possibilities that make up my future. I cannot see beyond this minute, this hour, or this day. I cannot see beyond my anger or my shame. So I need to trust Him to guide me through and out of today (and its problems) to a better tomorrow. And I need to be 100% confident that He has everything working according to His good plan (Ephesians 3:20) for an abundant/full life for us (John 10:10).
I think God used that Expedition to remind me to stop. Stop being impatient – because we cannot see what is in front of us and need to be prepared to stop (or at least slow down). Stop being self-righteous – we don’t always know best or see what (trouble) is ahead. Be open to seeing the truth – as He shows it to you – and realizing there is a lot you still need to learn. Stop trying to drive – stop trying to be in control and determine the outcomes. Be flexible to change (in direction, attitude, etc.) so you will be available to go (when called or led).
I couldn’t see beyond the Expedition, so I should haven’t made assumptions or jumped to the wrong conclusions. I took away my opportunity to enjoy the ride with my impatience.
And that’s what God calls us to do – enjoy the journey. Whether we are going as fast as we want or are waiting for our next step.
Life is a journey made up of many steps – will your next one be of faith? Will you trust Him to have a good plan?
It doesn’t matter if you can’t see the good result or the positive impact. It doesn’t matter if you wonder how it will work out. It doesn’t matter that it may not make any sense. In other words, it is OK not to know or have the answers. The key is to take the (next) step anyway – like Abram in Genesis 12:4 – and trust His outcome is worth the effort. Let go – of your plans, your smarts, your pride, your selfishness, your stubbornness – and follow/obey Him. Then sit back and enjoy the ride – and soon your limited perspective will be filled with evidence of His goodness as He guides you into a great life filled with blessings, grace, and awe.
Marie Fremin, 11/15/15