We do a lot of summer road-tripping, so I get a lot of “think time” when I’m at the wheel.
(I know you’re thinking, “What a liar, she’s got four kids. There’s no way she can think on epic road trips. But you’d be wrong. Because my kids are expertly trained travelers who don’t make a peep and have to be crow-barred out of their seats at rest stops to stretch and use the bathroom. They LOVE road trips and behave immaculately. #thankyoutechnology)
On our most recent trip, I happened to get the driving shift during an awesome series of thunder and lightning storm cells complete with walls of water that started and stopped with almost giggleable randomness. Like someone was squirting us with a hose, then turning it off, back on again, off, on; almost like we were being teased with the stops and starts.
I would be driving in a bright spot of sunshinyness and see a wall of gray ahead of me, squinch my eyes shut for a nanosecond as we braced for impact and the roar that enveloped our water-pummeled van.
Brake lights flared a fear-riddled red ahead of me, but I just smiled and kept on driving. Sometimes the rain was pounding so hard we wondered if it was actually hail and we worried that the windshield wipers couldn’t keep up with the intensity of the rainfall.
Then, without warning, deafening silence. It was over. Completely. Even the road ahead was dry. It was almost like the storms didn’t happen as I’m fumbling around for my sunglasses again. The frantic fwick-thack, fwick-thack of the wipers beginning to screech across the now-dry windshield confirm that the rain was, indeed, just there, but the sun ahead promises that for a while they are long gone behind us.
That’s where my epiphany happened. My relationship with God is just like these pockets of weather. I’m charging forward, set on a course all sunny and blithe. Then some weather hits. I can’t see, I feel a bit afraid, sometimes these gray pockets are long and frustrating and I want to pull over or stop and wait it out or just be done with this leg of the journey. I’m not sure I can see the road ahead of me and am afraid I’m off course or about to cause or be in an accident.
Then all of a sudden, right back into brightness. I felt like this was God giving me a beautiful picture of Him.
Sometimes we find ourselves in a rough patch with God. We’re not really paying attention to Him or what he’s saying to us, or our emotions are dragging us farther from experiencing His joy, life is beating us up, or worse, we’re beating ourselves up. Drifting.
God promises to always be near. So when we decide not to let the clouds and funk be our guides, squinch our eyes shut and brace for impact whispering, “God…”, then boom. It’s over.
There we are, in the sunshine again. There might be storms raging around us, even soaking us all the way through, but there IS sunshine. And we’re not required to slog through a swamp, complete an incredible journey or “earn” our way back into God’s presence. The sunshiney place is always there, smack on the other side of that waterwall.
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