Hey there, kind reader! Have you had a smooth journey today or have there been some bumps and turns in your day?
Here, my day began when I woke up at 4:45–a full 15 minutes before my alarm. David was truly right when he wrote we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”! A shower, some clothes, a little makeup, and a blast from the blowdryer and I was out the door by 6:30. (Did you know it’s dark then? VERY dark?!)
I made the one hour drive to work (so thankful for my part-time job!) and enjoyed a sermon podcast on the book of John along the way. Work was busy and, by the afternoon, I was looking forward to being able to leave a bit early due to working late a few other days and this morning’s early arrival.
There I was, gathering my things, saying “See you Monday,” and clocking out. I filled my tea thermos and headed to the car, jingling my keys and thinking how I would revel in the 4 free hours before dinner once home. I could sit down and leaf through all the mail. I could read a book. I could clean out the car. Why, I’d even have time for a little cat nap after I put a load of laundry in the washing machine! The possibilities seemed endless and each one wonderful.
Meanwhile, other people were on the road.
And that’s where my plans encountered a snag. Yes, “the heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) Not long after being on the beltway, everything came to a startling halt. I checked my savvy GPS app. “EXIT AHEAD!!!!” it said (exclamation points added).
So I exited.
And so did a zillion other cars. There we went–up hills, down valleys, around curves, along straightways, through intersections, turning left, turning right, merging (I use the word loosely–in its slowest sleepy, old, Mr. Turtle form). Funny thing, though, the GPS just directed us all back onto the beltway a few exits down. It was a help, I guess, but it didn’t save much time. In another way, though, it was the best route.
Along the way, I enjoyed some beautiful scenery in areas I had never traveled before–and I had plenty of time to admire that scenery in those new areas. (Did I mention it was VERY heavy traffic?) Each time the traffic stopped (which was about every 8 seconds), we’d sit for several minutes until we haltingly inched along again. While stopped, I looked out the window.
For the longest time, we followed the edge of a woodland. It sloped uphill to my right. Afternoon sunlight streamed across the road, spotlighting bare trees and scattering long shadows on the dry leaf bed. Here it is:
This may be a stretch, but have you ever felt like a landscape? Well, I felt like that one! I felt tired and spent and thirsty and on a continual uphill path. It helped, though, that I was listening to the book of John on the car’s stereo. I remembered the passage in John 4 where a tired Jesus talks with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well and speaks of living water. Then John 10:10 rang out: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Living water, abundant life: suddenly everything looked different! The clear blue February sky was the perfect backdrop. Some trees had striking smooth white bark while others were artistically rough and brown. Some were straight and tall; others took an interesting bend. And the leaves? They looked almost golden in the afternoon sunlight.
Like that view out my window, the perspective of my mind underwent a change, too. Sure, my day was going to be a long one, but it was the day the Lord had kindly awakened me to and was leading me through. Undeniably, my commute was going to be a long one, but I was inching ever homeward.
Let’s remember anew that a life in Christ does not mean always being decked out in fairy tale foliage with a bluebird singing in our branches and chipmunks scampering at our feet. Sometimes we’re emotionally bare with disharmony clanging around us and agenda brambles entangling our feet. Many times, it’s somewhere in between–but no matter.
Let’s remember, life in Christ is fed by living water. It’s abundant life. It’s peace and joy–in the circumstances, in the season–because of what Christ has done for us and because we’re heading home.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:1-3