One of my joys is the opportunity to drive my son to school in the morning. Often we chat about video games, life, God, how chores are for building character and such. I love this time with my son. But, sometimes I leave just late enough to cause stress for my son and I. He loathes the idea of being tardy–as he should. Some mornings the traffic lights are all green and the four-mile drive is effortless. It’s as if all is right with the world. No obstacles. The destination appears almost too quickly. My son and I have to actually interrupt our chat and he is off to class.
The most troubling are the days when every single red light is hit, there is traffic and the parent drop off looks like the 91 Riverside freeway during rush hour. There is no way to cut corners, speed up or defy the laws of nature. You simply have to nudge inch by inch.
With all the variations in how a journey on the road plays out you cannot help but wonder if you are headed to the same destination. The truth is that taking the same road will lead you to the same destination, but the conditions, timing, and context of your journey determine what that journey looks like. Yes, each one’s road seems different even though we are all on it together.
I remember a musician friend of mine who bemoaned the fact that he got a girl pregnant from a one night stand. His biggest complaint was how all his friends did it and none of them ended up like him. Yes, his life was tormented after this and almost ruined from an unbelievable set of circumstances. But, how about the others that took that same path?
The Bible says that “you will reap what you sow” and makes it clear that our choices will add up. The musician friend of mine took an express lane. But his friends were on the same path. They would find hardship in relationships based on the damage of having multiple sex partners. They would struggle with intimacy and pay a price. My friend got the green lights. His friends had traffic. But they all ended up at the same place–eventually.
One of the biggest barriers to growth as a believer is owning up to the choices or the roads we have traveled. We complain when things do not happen quickly enough which is at times as crazy as someone screaming at the 91 Freeway during peak traffic. “God, I have been praying for a while now, but…” “Jesus, I have been reading my Bible all week and am still waiting to get some answer.”
If we are on the right road, then whether we have red lights or green lights will not matter. The same is true if we are on the wrong road. Eventually, we will pay the price. Or, for the better eventually we will be rewarded.
This not a mean God who set this up. God loves us deeply and He makes this pretty obvious to us. We as Christians choose to live in the moment in our culture today and microwave our spiritual formation rather than cultivate our soul. This is why we need salvation from ourselves. We just do not get it at times.
What we do not get is that the right road hurts at times. We can have obstacles thrown at us that we never imagined. Someone could get cancer, or lose their home or fail in marriage. Being on the right road does not mean nor guarantee that our time on the road is as smooth as they guy’s next to me.
I wrote a song not too long ago that we recently sang in church that mentions one very important yet forgotten the word in our faith–providence. Providence is God’s hand in everything. With Providence, life makes sense. It does not matter who occupies the White House, what natural disaster is at play in the news or the circumstances of my personal journey. God is in control and has included me as a unique stitch in His tapestry.
So, we can choose to complain about the red lights. Or, be glad the road of faith we have chosen is taking us to a destination worthy of the sacrifice, pain, and suffering this side of heaven deals us.
Be bitter, or be broken. Which will you choose?