Well, coming as no surprise, I was thinking as I was driving one day. Actually, I was overthinking, which is just the same as choosing to either drive the speed limit or go racing down the road.
I’m trying to replace my thoughts traveling down the highways and byways of circumstances. The scenery is real and often far too vivid.
I find the nearest rest stop and begin trying to replace those anxious thoughts instead with thoughts of God’s wonder and grace. I try to think of all the times I found myself feeling helpless or overwhelmed and He always came through. Maybe not when I wanted it, but certainly when I needed it. Remembering brings peace and renewal to our minds. May our gaze be fixed on this amazing God who LOVES YOU AND ME.
He is fierce in the battle; who could stand against Him? NO ... NOT ONE! Yet, He is a gentle Shepherd who tends to sheep that need His guidance. That hook on the end of the rod is referred to as “the rod of direction and re-direction.”
He knows where we need to go and when we need to get back on course. It’s all about TRUST. While it’s hard when progress is slow, part of knowing God is finding His pace and keeping in step.
I imagine it much like elementary school when we had to line up. Getting to be line leader was such a big deal! The leader set the pace for the rest to follow. The teacher watched as we walked. When a student got out of line, we’d get yelled at because we were told it was unsafe to be out of line in a crowded hallway. “The teacher is being mean,” we thought. But they were just doing their jobs and following their leader, who wanted no child hurt or lost. In order, there is safety, but in chaos, there is a risk of getting hurt and displaced.
Today, as I was reflecting, that came to mind. It was so easy to trust as a child when boundaries and lines were normally made for us and kept us safe and feeling secure. Somewhere, when we are testing our freedom, we think we’re too smart for all those silly, childish things and wander out of line, making foolish rules and choices. We never want to admit it, but what we really want is the safety and security that comes with those boundaries. Being in step with the line meant we always got to where we were going without injury or accident. I do recall a few bullies shoving and pushing others around. That may have been fun for a moment until the teacher took them by the arm to the principal’s office. (Back then, teachers were permitted to grab a child's arm. There was even a wooden paddle in every room, or a yardstick, to swat hands that were not on the desk working.) My, how things (and people, I might add) have changed. Nonetheless, we trusted our leaders, adults, and parents.
Trusting another can be a good thing if the person is good. But when we trust the bullies, we are most often betrayed. Trust becomes something we discard. Then the walls come up.
Where’s the teacher now? Who can we trust? Trusting didn’t fail us. We failed to use the tools necessary. We perceive trust itself as a danger. And because people failed, we blame God and lose faith in Him.
We actually have to let our guard down to trust. Years go by and trust eroded and eroded until we were shipwrecked by losing the compass of faith that had been worn down by the usual difficulties of life. It’s always in a crisis we can pinpoint where, when, what, or who went offshore and left us in bewilderment and despair. It doesn’t take long to react and do one of two things: Point the blame at someone else, or realize it was our fault.
Why is that so hard?! When we are honest with ourselves, we find answers and solutions. What good comes from blaming another? Even if it’s their fault, there are still ways to get back on course. Stop making excuses, forgive who needs forgiven, and confess, “I need to play by the rules again.” There is great freedom in saying, “I was wrong and I’m sorry!” Nearly any disagreement is disarmed by an act of love and humility.
Following rules somehow gets lost in adulthood when at age 18, we declare “Free at Last!” In our minds, we have no rules and nobody to tell us what to do anymore! Now we can do what we want when we want. That is truly in “The Land of Make-Believe!” I would love to live there and never have a job or a boss, pay taxes, pay bills, pay for groceries, buy a car and even the gas, or pay for what I needed or wanted. In that land, everything would be free, everyone would be kind and loving, and money really would grow on trees! Plus, you could eat all the ice cream and chocolate you want and never gain weight! I could be a kid forever!
Why is it that when we are kids, we can’t wait to grow up? When we are adults, we want to retrieve the time we wasted trying to grow up too soon.
The answer is obvious: Because we don’t like rules or being told what to do. We want what we want in our own way and think being a grown-up means that’s what magically happens. Well, no such magical life exists. Even people that are rich and have anything money can buy can still be lonely and miserable. Money is not the answer and can’t buy a life of true love, peace, joy, and contentment.
TRUST ME! There is only one way to such a life. JESUS IS THE ANSWER! He died a cruel death in order to give us the opportunity for such a full and abundant life. And in that life, you live forever in Heaven which Jesus called Paradise.
When our own will holds the compass and we are the only decision-makers, we will see life doesn’t go our way. We are out of line and out of step and have no leader, help, or guidance. In time, we become unhappy and frustrated. We may have things we want, but not what we really need.
That void we feel is unfulfilling but can change in an instant, just like when we were in class and the teacher called your name and the answer was recorded either “here” or “absent.” The teacher would write in her rule book. In my days long ago, morning attendance was followed by standing respectively to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag, the Honor Creed, The Lord’s Prayer, and often, a bible story. (I went to public school, by the way.) What a way to start the day!
The rules weren’t always harsh. They kept order and were life lessons. Stay in line and TRUST the person who knows where you’re going and will get you there.
What happens in the process is that we have a WILL, and that will does not like to WAIT! Especially in today’s society, where everything is made for our convenience: faster, quicker, timesavers more advanced, keeping us all connected with technological gadgets and devices to give us more time. Yet we are busier than ever.
The irony is, all of the extra time is spent on those time-saving devices because we just don’t like to wait. So we got out of line and got off course and now, take a look. The result is not pretty. But it remains very hopeful for the believer who belongs to God.
However, life is not a search engine. You can’t Google everything. Life is trusting WHO knows and what, why, who, and when His time will come with the answer. In that time, patience brings peace, hope continues as faith develops, and you gain perspective that trust has been your Genesis all along. What God begins, He always completes.
Be ready and aware rather than absent and careless. It isn’t always easy. I have been there, and I am there! But this I know from experience: God’s will, His way, and His timing are perfectly in line with His plan for our lives. The Bible, His living Word, gives us a great description.
Jeremiah 29:11 records these words: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
There is a difference between the Christian and the Disciple. One drops some things to follow Him, and the other drops everything. Yes, I said it! It is easier said than done. But not impossible!
He gave His all on a Cross for you and to me. It is still unfathomable. He whispered your name on that Cross with love, and He still does.
He died and rose again, “As He said” – three words that build trust alone!
Whisper His beloved name and feel that love. Not one thing in this world can compare. Not one thing is worth the trade. There is no greater love or companion in this life. Trust me when I say, there is none like Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
NO … NOT ONE!
NO … NOT ONE!