When I was a teenager and my dad was teaching me how to drive, he once told me something I’ll never forget. I’m the sort of person who likes to know the whole plan and have it all laid out before I even start. So as we went along I kept asking him where I was going, and what turns I needed to take and what lane I should be in. And finally at one point he said, “You see that yellow line on the left? You see that white line on the right? Stay between them ’til I tell you otherwise.” I realized this statement applies to life in general, not just driving.
One day when Abram was minding his own business God spoke to him:
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
Genesis 12:1 (ESV)
So Abram (who later was called Abraham by God) got up the next day, packed up his family and left. I imagine if anyone passed him and kindly asked him where he was headed, he might have replied, “That is an excellent question!” and kept on going. God didn’t tell him where the land was that he was going to, but He just said to go and He’d tell him when he got there. Abraham trusted God and followed Him all the way. Hebrews 11, or “The Hall of Faith,” talks about him and many other great men and women of God because of their great faith in God and willingness to trust Him with everything, no matter what. Hebrews 11 also says that all those people never actually saw everything promised come to pass—just as Abraham never saw his offspring become a great nation while he lived—which is what made their faith that much greater.
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
John 3:8 (ESV)
God doesn’t usually show us the full map of our lives, but it is all laid out before Him. Many times He doesn’t tell us where we’re going, but He always gives us the turn-by-turn directions to get there. He planned a lifelong roadtrip for us before we even existed, one meant to be awesome, though not easy. Sometimes the road gets really bad and the ride is rough; sometimes we look around and have no idea where we are. Sometimes it’s lovely out, and sometimes it seems like the wipers can’t move fast enough to clear the downpour from the windshield. God gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us, like a spiritual GPS; He will never steer us wrong, no matter what the road looks like. It’s only when we don’t trust His leading that we get lost.
Maybe you’ve felt before the way I’ve been feeling lately: that life feels smothered in a thick fog, and I have no idea where I’m going or really where I am. I never knew until recently that the bright white line on the side of the road is called the fog line, and it is there to guide drivers when inclement weather (like fog) keeps them from seeing clearly, so people don’t go driving off the road or crashing into each other. Sometimes God takes us on roads that are covered in fog or darkness, where we can’t see more than three feet in front of us (or even less). On these roads He is the fog line that we follow to keep us on course, until the fog lifts an the sun comes out; it always does, even if it’s not until the end of the road.
So when you don’t know where you’re going, just stay between the lines until He tells you otherwise; and if you can’t see the road, then hold to the fog line; keep trusting His word, and drive on.
This week I had to pick a topic for my final paper in my Argument & Persuasion class. As it turns out, the one I picked specifically because it is not a huge controversial issue turned out to incite quite the debate in my group when it was my turn to share what I had. I don’t like confrontation, so I immediately qualified my (weak) view by stating that I was thinking of picking a better topic anyway. My teacher was there at the time, and replied thus:
“Not writing something because people might not understand you goes against… well, writing!”
I realized that the saying goes beyond writing; it’s never about whether or not people get what you’re saying or doing. It’s about following through with what God has told you, and leaving the rest up to Him.
But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
Acts 4:19-20 (ESV)
There are chunks of scripture in the book of Ezekiel, in both chapters 3 and 33, where God tells him that if he is given a message for others, but when he tells them they don’t listen, then it’s their problem; but if he doesn’t tell them at all and they fall, then it becomes his problem, since it was his responsibility to warn them. We also are given words to speak and assignments to complete, and while God is sovereign and will ultimately have His way, what might we be missing out on in our fear and disobedience? Where might heaven not be opened and territory not taken for the kingdom? Or who might have to go on in the same way, waiting for someone else to speak up in faith while they suffer?
I have recently been at the receiving end of a faithfully delivered word which caused much turmoil in my soul. My friends who spoke to me made sure I understood that they couldn’t not share what they heard because of their love for me as a friend, and because of the immense love of God for me. It is, afterall, out of love only that God gives any message; His desire is for us and not against us. Another faithful friend was helping me process these things, and reminded me of this: It’s only when everything is shaken that the things which can not be shaken are revealed, and we are able to stand firm.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Matthew 10:34 (ESV)
Pastor James spoke this weekend of those who are assigned to stand firm even to the point of death. Those people can only stand because they have allowed the Lord to make their foundation strong and their lives bold, and to remove all hindrances and blockades in their lives. Some of us are meant to shake things up; some of us are sent to bring war to places the enemy has been content in. Some of us will stand until we are cut down in the body, but we all will rise in the Spirit, even as Christ rose, to life true and eternal. If our lot is the Kingdom of Heaven, which never fades, then what on earth is there to be afraid of?