When you are driving somewhere unfamiliar, it’s likely you will drive a little slower, keeping your eyes out for house numbers and landmarks which point you in the right direction. Maybe, like me, you will turn down the radio because Luke Bryan is no help when you’re lost. Your senses are on high alert, and while you’re in the car, it feels as though the trip is taking forever and you will never arrive. Finally, the house or the church or the business is in your line of vision, and you breathe a little easier, knowing you’ve arrived.
But when you leave that place and head back home, a funny thing happens. The trip zooms by, you know where you are now, and you can turn the radio up as loud as you want. Suddenly, you arrive home and you think, “Wow, that took so much less time than the first time! How did we get back so fast?”
Time flies when you know where you’re going, and it positively crawls by when you are lost and out of your element, depending on every little tiny sign from God you can decipher.
I feel like 2016 has been a lot like the first trip for many of us.
Maybe you started a new relationship and everything felt unfamiliar ,
or maybe you ended a relationship and you’re navigating the world alone for the first time in a long time.
Maybe you moved, and you literally don’t know where anything is,
or maybe your life has just changed in ways you cannot even begin to describe, and if you stop and think about it long enough, you will absolutely break because you’ve been driving around in circles trying to convince everyone you know where you are going, but you are so completely lost it’s not even funny.
To you I say:
It’s ok to pull over and ask for directions. (Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. -Proverbs 3:5-6)
It’s ok to be lost (I once was lost, but now I am found!!)
It’s ok to remove distractions everything that’s hindering you from hearing God’s voice. Create a quiet space where his voice can be heard, and wait for him! He has not forgotten you! (Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”Psalm 46:10)
But whatever you do, don’t turn around. Don’t go back to where you came from. The promised land is ahead of you, not behind you! God has not called you to be comfortable. He is always inviting you into the deep, unfamiliar waters. The destination is worth it. The length of the trip is worth it. In fact, the length of the trip is the beauty of it. That’s where he’s forming you and shaping you. Don’t neglect the journey no matter how boring or scary or lonely it is. He wants to meet you in the quiet solitude of your desperation and shepherd you!
This year has been a long trip for me. It’s been full of twists and turns and unforeseen circumstances. I’ve had to make some tough calls, remove some serious distractions, and learn anew how to hear God’s voice. But as I look back over the year, I am so encouraged. It’s so much easier now than it was at the beginning, not because my circumstances are a fairy tale, but because day by day I’m surrendering to the journey, trusting my Guide, and focusing on the joy set before me.
God has not abandoned you on a highway somewhere. He has not removed the end goal. He’s not tricking you. He’s inviting you to go deeper than ever before. You may feel lost at the end of 2016, but you are found! He found you in your mess and invaded your world and he’s not leaving you for all the tea in China.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.-Hebrews 12