The other day a friend picked me up for a meeting 45 minutes away. It took us almost 4 hours. One wrong turn escalated to an adventure with a destiny unknown. It was unbelievable to us, for we had a road map, we stopped for directions, three times, and each time the confidently expressed directions were wrong. The good news is, we finally arrived at our destination, and the journey made us laugh, when we paralleled it into a symbolic meaning behind our spiritual journey.
This spiritual journey that we all take is one of commonality. It’s as though we have our road map from point A to point B. We know how to proceed, beginning with prayer, worship, scripture, faith community etc. however, we hit bumps in the roads, detours that are unexpected. It may take us off our planned path. What do we do, when we find ourselves rolling down unfamiliar territory? This happened to us, we had directions, which failed, we had a backup plan, a GPS, that failed, we humbly asked for help, which failed.
I tried to bring hope to the situation, remembering countless stories, such as the ones from 9/11, of how things didn’t go as planned, and their lives were spared from that tragic day. Some over slept, the bus was cancelled, and they had to catch the next one, the train was down, their child was sick, etc. They were meant to arrive precisely when they did. God was working behind the scenes. I also heard of some stories, where traffic or a late start prevented them from being a part of a horrendous accident ahead, detouring catastrophe. With these stories in mind we trusted, that we were in God’s gentle hand, and that he was guiding us on an unexpected path, but one, that was meant for the two of us to journey together. We were able to catch up on each other’s lives and bond in a way we hadn’t in a long time.
We finally decided to do what Jesus had done, when he had to gain guidance, focus, and redirection. If you recall the scripture Luke 6: 12,13 He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Him; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostle. He stopped, he prayed, and this gave him focus and clarity to move forward and make wise decisions. We did the same. We stopped, cleared our heads, prayed, and clarity came. We found directions to our destination without even searching. Signs seemed to have appeared we didn’t notice before and we began to follow. They brought us to our final destination.
How many times have we lost focus, became confused and given up? God is always there leading us, we just need to become attuned to his direction;we need to look at things through a different lens. It reminds me of this story I once heard. It’s a story about a retired couple named Madge and Henry and every morning they sat at the kitchen table drinking their coffee, while Henry read the paper and Madge looked out the big picture window. New neighbors moved in next door and they had little kids and lots of laundry. Every morning Madge would comment on how the new neighbor would wash the clothes and hang them on the line to dry, what perplexed Madge was that the colors always looked dull and the whites never white. Day after day, she would comment to her husband how strange it was and how perhaps they needed a new washing machine or better laundry detergent. Henry, just sighed and said, “leave it alone”, but Madge was insistent that something was wrong and this banter went on for a few weeks. One day, Madge looked out the window and said, Henry, they must have gotten a new washing machine, the clothes are so bright and the whites so white and clean. Henry said, Madge please, it’s not them, it’s you, I washed the windows this morning.
Sometimes we just need a refocus, take time in quiet prayer, to see things through a different lens, gaining new perspective, to see our way out of a perplexing situation. 1 Corinthians 13:12
Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.