On my recent road trip to Dallas there was a bit more traffic on I-45 than usual. Not the stuff nightmares are made of, but a bit tedious at times with both lanes occupied, people trying to pass, getting stuck behind the occasional slow vehicle, etc. Early on in my drive, I found myself behind a large truck. The truck blocked my view of what was ahead so my first instinct was to pass him, to get out in front of him so I could see clearly what all was coming. But as it worked out, I remained behind him for quite some time. I began to notice that the driver of said truck was very good at deciding when to pass and when to wait. I on the other hand, either being too polite or too impatient, often wind up stuck behind the slowest of driver. A couple times I opted not to follow the truck and always to my demise. I quickly learned my lesson and stuck with the truck. (Poor guy probably thought I was a total creepster!) Though I couldn’t see what was coming, he could. I could take my cues from him. He had proven himself worthy of being followed.
As I drove, it hit me. Though I can’t see what is coming, God can. It is okay if I can't see what is ahead. So long as I have God in my line of sight, I can take my cues from Him. Yeah, I know this isn’t some grand revelation, but the imagery of it really hit home.
So many times in my own life I am tempted to pull out in front of God, step away from His timing and His plan to forge ahead with my own. As I don’t much care for surprises (well, at least not the unpleasant kind), I try to get a better glimpse for myself so I can see what all is coming. Yet pulling out in front of God to see things for myself never works. He knows me better than I know myself and He can see far more than my weary, peering eyes. It is best to stick with Him, let Him occupy my range of vision, and trust.
Other times, when God slows me down and wants to work on something in my life - growing some virtue, healing some wound, eliminating some sin, learning some lesson - I’m like the impatient driver trying to will the slow car in front of me to move by glaring at it. It is as if somehow all of life’s woes would be solved if that car didn’t exist, if this or that obstacle was removed, and I could go on my merry way! But the willing and glaring doesn’t work. We must slow down with God, watch Him closely (Psalm 123:2), and allow Him to help us learn and maneuver. Only then can we safely and happily carry on.
Lastly, in both life and driving, I find it rather torturous to turn off the cruise control and navigate my way inch by inch. I much prefer the free-flying, music-blaring, cruise control excursion. But life isn’t an empty open road. It is a journey perfectly designed to get us to our final destination. God chooses the perfect (perfect for us) companions, detours, obstacles, and vehicles that enable us to grow in our capacity to give and receive love (which is hopefully what we’ll be doing for all eternity at that final destination!) We must be willing to fully engage our hearts, minds, and souls on the trip. That is the whole point. No cruise control allowed. We keep our eye on God, stay alert to His movements, and take it one step at a time.
So if you find yourself in a spot where your view is obscured, your pace is painfully slow, or you have to work hard to figure out what is the next step . . . don’t despair. Just keep your eye on God. Take your cues from Him. He can see what is coming and He can help you navigate all obstacles. He has already overcome the greatest obstacle: sin and death. He knows how to get us to our final destination.
This Christmas season, let us learn to follow the One that was sent to save us. “And you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 He has certainly proven Himself worthy of being followed.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6