Several weeks ago I had a chance to go over to Maryville and visit an old friend on a Saturday, the leaves were still full of fall color, a light breeze was shimmering those left in the trees and the fallen ones danced on the road in front of me. It was a beautiful sunny day and I was feeling lucky to be able to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. If you are like me, a nice day with no scheduling conflicts can be rare, so I had some good music on and was enjoying the day. That’s when it happened.
As I turned a corner, traffic stopped. After a few minutes that felt like hours, I could see a couple of blue lights and officers directing traffic in the distance. I stopped noticing the breeze, the leaves, the beauty around and started thinking of the many ways that this situation could have been prevented, or at least handled more efficiently if I was in charge. But I wasn’t in charge, wasn’t even fully aware of the reason for the problem, still don’t know. I just knew that my day wasn’t in my control anymore. I was being waved on, at a very slow pace, and rerouted on a different path.
As I crawled at a snails pace through a maze of orange cones and construction signs, I started to fell like the cattle we raised when I was younger and how we would use gates, fences and ramps to force them to go the direction we wanted them to go. The cattle went, not happily, but resigned to going anyway, following one another blindly. The day and the location were still exactly like they had been when I so happily started, the beauty was still the same, only my reaction was changed.
I’m sure that all of this took a short ten minutes or so before I was out of it and back on track, it felt like more but that was just my perception. As I hit the open road, it struck me that life in general and Christian life in particular can be just the same as this little scene. We start out our journey in awe and peace, happy to be going in the direction we have planned out, then blue lights, orange cones and disruption take us off course. These are the times that we let our guard down and allow life to rattle us and our faith. Rushing down the river of life through the world in a current that we can’t fight, we allow ourselves to be more comfortable with the sins we allow since the situation isn’t ours to control any longer.
Living in this world, but not being of this world is much harder when we are pushed into situations that take our control away. It was easier for me to judge, to disparage and to let my impatience and anger get a foothold when my path was interrupted. Although the peace and beauty that had been there when I started this journey were still exactly the same, and considering that it had in reality only cost me a few minutes, I had allowed myself to let my focus to slip off of what a blessing the day was and it was so easy to do.
Each day we begin with a destination and a purpose and most days we find the detours that map out our reality. I think that I was most aware of just how quickly my focus was allowed to move from light to dark. Me and God had a good talk about then, a really good talk. Mostly it was me asking forgiveness for letting my faith so quickly get weak and then for thanking and praising Father for allowing me to be realigned and set back on my path. I asked for maturity and understanding when I next come to the blue lights and cones, instead of allowing them to shake me, to allow them to let me understand that I was never in control anyway and gain peace through that.
I ended up having a great visit with my friend, we took advantage of the beauty and peace of the day. During our talk, he opened up about a personal issue that had been on his heart and it happened to be one that I had some experience with. God used us to fellowship and comfort each other that day and it was awesome.
I’m thankful that God took me off my path that day and through the detour because it showed me a lesson that I needed to experience. My faith and obedience are not tested when all is going to plan and easy, but in the times when I’m in danger of allowing my sinful nature to erupt and I instead allow Gods grace and love be sufficient for me.