“This God- his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.”- Psalm 18:30
Several years ago my wife Vicki and I were driving home from the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI. Vicki’s favorite shortcut between Baraboo and Madison is the car ferry that crosses the Wisconsin River at Merrimac. As we approached the road leading to the ferry, we were startled to find that it was closed for construction. Reversing directions, all I could see was a rural landscape. The expressway home was nowhere in sight. Not possessing the dominant “real men never ask for directions” gene, I immediately pulled to the side of the road and contacted OnStar. It turned out we were only a few miles from the expressway. Stubborn reliance on my perceived directional skills only would have resulted in unnecessary delay and anxiety.
When life is on cruise control, we tend to be self-reliant and self-made people, clearly focused on the future. Our ministry downsizing or vocation loss unexpectedly detours our carefully delineated plans. During such interruptions, John Ortberg points out, we must affirm God’s faithfulness as we embrace Him rather than embracing moments:
“We are not meant to embrace moments, but to embrace God. Moments are not always good. God is never anything else but good. Moments are simply the place where we meet him. Every moment. Starting now.”
Stephen Mansfield (Healing Your Church Hurt) astutely comments that Christianity is not the absence of pain and anxiety. Christianity is, however, the message of a God who uses our pain and adversity to make us what we were destined to be. As we become still and let Jesus direct our path, we will experience the transforming peace God promises, as Ann Spangler describes:
“The peace God promises isn’t a solitary, selfish kind of peace . . . His peace is more like leaven. It can make us into people whose lives can touch the world, transforming it with grace and truth.”