Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cruising

The other day while driving a familiar route, I turned on to a stretch of two-lane blacktop highway. It is a long scenic drive through some beautiful country and usually enjoyable, unless of course you get stuck behind someone going well below the speed limit. Being a winding road with narrow shoulders, passing is difficult. Once stuck, it is hard to get unstuck. At that point, rising frustrations kill any enjoyment and it becomes a toe tapping, teeth grinding, nostril flaring test of patience.

Only a couple miles into my scenic stretch I slowed to torturously sluggish speeds. I could see there were a couple cars in front of me, and in front of them was a large pickup truck pulling a trailer. I pulled out of my lane slightly to access the situation further and realized there was a large snail-paced piece of farm equipment in front of the pickup with trailer. I was doomed. No way could I get around all this with steady morning traffic in the oncoming lane next to me. My old pickup simply doesn’t have that kind of pick up. I'd have to wait my turn. It would surely take forever for the three vehicles in front of me to pass the farm equipment. I wasn’t even sure the truck with trailer would venture a try.

Just as I was about to begin my litany of laments (“Are you kidding me!?” “This is the last thing I need this morning!” “Why does this always happen to me!?”) the impossible happened. No really, it did. We hit a stretch of straight road where passing is permitted and the oncoming traffic ceased. The truck with trailer pulled into what narrow shoulder there was on the right. The other vehicles in front of me quickly passed both the pickup and farm equipment and I followed. We were all through and cruising within minutes. I could hardly believe it. What I thought would be an impossible situation (sure to make me late and drive me mad), was resolved just like that. I was both surprised and grateful. Actually, I was giddy.

As I continued my drive and happily pondered this little incident, it hit me. How often in life does God do the impossible right before our eyes and quicker than we expected? Perhaps you’re shaking your head and thinking, “Never, Sarah. I never see God do the impossible.” Stick with me and hear me out.

I began to think back on the surprising changes in my life: The hurts that at one time were debilitating, knocking the proverbial wind out of me, now no longer even sensitive to the touch. The fears that once paralyzed or haunted, now longer having a hold on my life. The projects I thought I could never tackle, now completed and since built upon. The sins that wreaked a havoc of shame and desolation, now forgiven, healed, and in the past. Loneliness and a sense of distance from God, now replaced by prayer, presence, and peace. Obviously, not all these things happened in mere minutes like my highway escapade. Some of those hurts and sins took years to heal (some are still in process) and I daily have to work on the prayer and presence bit. Yet as I drove and as I pondered I could not help but marvel. How does God do that?!

In the moment, all these experiences (the hurt, the fear, the project, the sin, the loneliness, the distance) are both palpable and impossible. We see no way around. Maybe we even pull out of our lane a bit to further access the situation and definitively declare we are doomed. And just as we are about to launch into our litany of laments (and sometimes after we’ve done our share of it) . . . God somehow steps in and gets to work. His grace in our lives makes the impossible possible. We are changed. We find ourselves being healed, calmed, aided, redeemed, and drawn close. And before we know it we are through that slow lane, cruising along amazed and grateful (and maybe even a little giddy).

In this new light, I also pondered the current impossible situations in my life, the situations that seem hopeless and the problems that lack discernable solutions. There are some big ones. But I got a little giddy wondering how God will resolve them. Somehow looking back to the past problems resolved, helped me to look forward with clarity and hope. I have a renewed trust that God can and will work these things out. Probably not in mere minutes. Probably not in ways I can fathom. Nevertheless, He’ll do it right before my very eyes.

So if today you find yourself moving at a snails pace with obstacles filling up your lane, take heart! God does good work. Think back on the things He has overcome in you thus far and have renewed hope in what He can accomplish in the months and years ahead. He’ll get you through and cruising again. And possibly in unexpected and swift ways.

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