Matters of health. Matters of the heart. Matters of the head.
It didn’t matter to life.
Didn’t matter that THIS was not a good time. You know – during the holidays; at the beginning of a new year; during the first days of a new semester; after I had made some commitments and promises and begun some new endeavors, while other family “things” were going on…
Life did not care.
How can so many things be going sideways – all at once?
If you think I have an answer, stop reading right now.
I don’t have an answer. But through the past weeks I have gone from tears to a down right pity party to finally remembering that while I was caught completely off guard – or as I told a friend, having the rug pulled out from under my one good foot (the other one is actually broken) – Jesus was and is fully aware.
It is during times like these I remind myself that nothing catches my Lord off guard.
Why so much at once? I don’t know. But if He has allowed this, He surely has a reason and, more importantly, He will surely use this for good. Possibly my good, perhaps someone else’s good, prayerfully for the good of His Kingdom. But He will, as He promised, work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
So knocked sideways? Stay in His purpose. Diligently obey Him and He will not only straighten things out, He will set you high above all the nations of the earth (Deuteronomy 28:1).
When I learned to drive, road maps were all the rage. I have very vivid images of my dad sitting at the kitchen table with his maps spread out and a World Atlas at his fingertips. He would sit there for hours planning our family vacations, mapping the routes, making note of the connections, turns and exits. I thought he and my sister were amazing the way they could recall and discuss highway numbers… “Turn right onto 42 and go about 37 miles then take NC 97 North to 301. You’ll go about 12 miles then merge onto Interstate 95 North.”
I well remember my first solo trip with a road map. Like Daddy, I sat at the kitchen table, spread the map, made my markings and jotted notes. I was going on a job interview and, worried enough about that, I wanted the travel to be uneventful. I even used the little scale in the bottom corner of the map to calculate mileage and approximate time. All along the way, though, I had to keep stopping on the side of the road to consult my trusty road map.
Three things are important when planning a trip using a map – knowing where you are, where you need to end and which direction you need to travel to get there! And therein lies the beauty of GPS. The screen shot always includes a big arrow indicating YOU ARE HERE. That’s good news to any driver!
Want some even better news? Not only are you “HERE,” so is God! He is everywhere! He is with you!
Joshua 1:9 (ESV) reminds us to be strong, courageous and without fear or dismay because the Lord, our God, is with us wherever we go. Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV) echoes the same encouragement adding a reminder that He will never leave nor forsake us. David asked, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7-10, ESV) In the heavens, in Sheol, in the uttermost part of the sea – even there David said we find God’s hand which shall lead us and hold us!
I find that latter thought to be particularly encouraging because I live in the boondocks, and I frequently drive rural highways. This means I regularly lose signals for my telephone and GPS. The “GPS Lady” often tells me she is rerouting. I suppose rerouting sounds better than “I don’t have a clue where you are.” When the GPS loses its signal, I am left to go it alone trying to read road signs while I drive. That is not only frustrating, it is unnerving, especially if I am traveling an unfamiliar and not well-marked route. Whenever the signal reconnects, the GPS offers instructions to correct whatever mis-turns I may have taken and tries to get me back on track. It’s rare, but sometimes GPS cannot get it right and I have to rely on other sources like stopping strangers to ask for instructions or accessing Google Maps on my cell phone.
Our God never loses connection with us though we sometimes choose to ignore the promptings of His Holy Spirit. Now there are times when I know better than the “GPS Lady.” She tells me to turn left and I am looking at a ONE WAY sign or a ROAD CLOSED sign, so I know not to follow her directions. But our God gets it right 100% of the time! Isaiah 40:13-14 asks, “Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge and informed Him of the way of understanding?” The answer is NO ONE! He is omniscient and omnipresent, so He knows and He is with us. He is also faithful, so we can trust that He is with us, just as He promised, wherever we are.
There are times when we ignore God’s directions or believe that we know better. Surely when God has us on a route that is bumpy or one that is twisted or winding or scary or lonesome or dark even, He has made a mistake, somehow gotten it wrong. No, it is not God that has gotten it wrong, it is our perspective that is limited while God is finite.
Question God? Be puzzled by His directions? Surely, but never doubt. Even Abraham had questions about God’s directions and decisions (e.g. the destruction of Sodom), but Abraham obeyed in faith. He never mocked, rebelled or cursed God. Abraham knew what we can know as children of God and that is that God is Here, right here with you!