Are we there yet? – Every child on every road trip…ever.
Not all those who wander are lost. – J.R.R. Tolkien
I will bring the blind by a way they did not know;
I will lead them in paths they have not known.
I will make darkness light before them,
And crooked places straight.
These things I will do for them,
And not forsake them. – Isaiah 42:16
I can remember being in the back of the station wagon for what seemed to be hours on end. Getting bored of picking fights with my sister or staring out the window at scenery that never seemed to change. I grew up in North Texas and no matter what direction you choose, you are a few hours travel time before the landscape looks much different. Inevitably, within about thirty minutes, my sister and I would start with the standard question: “Are we there yet?” Oh, it might have been phrased a little different from time to time, such as “How much longer?” or “What time will we be there?”, but it was all the same question.
Now, as the dad and driver on these excursions, I am on the opposite side. I admit it that I have it a lot better than my parents did. Now days, we have electronic games and DVD players that can help pass the time for the kiddos. Back when I was growing up, you were lucky if you could find decent radio stations to listen to along the way. Although I am on the opposite side now, I still want to know how much longer. Sometimes, even if I know the route I will take, I plug the destination into my Navi just so it can tell me how many more miles and about what time we will arrive.
I tend to get absorbed with destinations. Whether it be a physical destination, career, family, or whatever, there seems to always be a destination or goal involved. It makes me uneasy when there is not a clear destination. I remember when I was in high school, growing up in a rural community, one of the primary past times was to just drive around, especially on the dirt roads out in the country. I never wanted to be the driver when the aim was just to drive around. I need a plan, a destination. If the plan was to just drive around on the “drag” (which was just a big circle through town that had the Sonic on one end and the Quick Stop on the other) I was your guy, but if it required meandering without a specific path or destination, we could take my vehicle but someone else needed to drive. I am still that way as an adult.
If I am driving and the path is not set, I get so preoccupied with the task of driving that I cannot simply enjoy the journey and take in the sites, I can only focus on the road ahead.
This struggle bleeds into my spiritual life as well. You see, being a follower of Christ is much more of a journey than a destination. We know that the destination in authentic Christianity and to be like Christ. We also know that we will not achieve that goal or destination on this side of eternity. Along this journey are many forks and we must choose which path to take. At many junctions, the right direction (toward Christ) is obvious (right or wrong turns), other times the best path is not so obvious (right or left turns) when the paths are spiritually neutral. Much like driving on the dirt roads back in Jack County, I can get overcome with analysis paralysis. Can we get so focused on making the best decision, that we are unable to enjoy the ride? Most of the time the decision seems to be between one path that seems difficult and a path that seems easier, if not easy. Sometimes it is a choice between a known (staying the course) and an unknown (taking on something totally new). Is there a right or wrong in this situation? Probably not. Is there a good or best in this situation? Probably, but this is a step in our faith journey.
No one wants life to be a struggle, but it is the struggles that increase our faith and our confidence in God. If we belong to Him, the one thing that we must keep in mind is that God can use whatever we choose for His Glory. One thing that has really pressed on me lately is that results are in God’s realm, but effort is in that of man. Perhaps, we get too bogged down with anticipated destinations (results). Most of the time, these decisions involve, jobs, or schools, or where to live. I think that the key is to have confidence that God has blessing awaiting in every direction. It is also likely that a struggle or two lay in every path as well. Focus on Him and pray that He be glorified in your path and in your struggles. If you cannot seem to pray that He be glorified in the decision you are making, you are probably looking at a right or wrong path as opposed to a right or left. If you can honestly pray that He be glorified in your decision, rest easy and proceed in His blessing.