Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
It’s rather a paradox. The story is told of two people who were married, and both happened to be doctors. They were walking down the street together, holding hands, and someone saw them and said, “Oh look, a “pair of docs.” Smile. I have a paradox of my own, but it has nothing to do with doctors. You see, I love to travel. My wife Judy and I genuinely look forward to traveling. It is one of our “life candies.” In fact, as I write this, I am overlooking a beach in Northwest Florida. The patio door is open, the early morning sun is sharing its rays with those already on the beach and the sound of crashing and rolling waves fill the room. It is good.
Now for the paradox. In order to travel, you have to somehow go somewhere. Whether it is a plane, train or automobile…you have to go and going always involves opportunities for frustration. Whether it is a canceled flight or train or a sudden traffic jam on the interstate, interruptions will and do come. On this trip, it happened driving south on Interstate 24. There is a stretch of road south of Paducah, Kentucky that the Department of Transportation has been working on for a long, long time. The two south bound lanes have been reduced to one and that can spell slowdown. But this time it didn’t. Everyone managed to merge to one lane and we were merrily heading south at a reduced but very respectable speed…until we weren’t.
Suddenly, I looked up and I could see lots and lots of brake lights. So I began to slow down and pretty quickly found myself in a traffic jam. Well, we managed to creep along at a blazing five or ten miles per hour. I looked on the GPS and it confirmed there was an accident up ahead and that was the reason for the slowdown. It also told me that the mess was somewhere between long but not the longest. After a while the GPS told me that we were nearing the spot of the accident. I was expecting the worse…police cars, ambulances, and destroyed vehicles, but that wasn’t what I found. Pulled off on the shoulder, as in not blocking any lanes, were three vehicles. One had no damage and the other two had minor damage. Apparently they were following too closely and someone hit the brakes and well, the rest is history.
There was no police presence, yet, there was no ambulance—in fact, everyone was standing around chatting and as soon as we passed the scene, it was over. It was back to normal…zooming south again. Two things quickly occurred to me. First, the choice of those two drivers to follow too closely sure caused a mess. If one of them was in a hurry…well, they weren’t anymore. Second, it seemed to me that while traffic needed to slow down, it didn’t need to almost come to a stop. It could have been curiosity or maybe a case of overreaction. We do that well sometimes, don’t we? The bottom line is…it doesn’t matter…things happen. Period.
And therein lies the paradox. Practically speaking, if we travel, we will have bumps and slowdowns. It is just a part of life—the journey. So you do all that you can to avoid the bumps and slowdowns but don’t let them “eat your lunch” or keep you from doing the thing you love. You learn to accept them as part of the journey. Now, I’m still learning this but I have a feeling it something worth exploring. This goes somewhere beyond knowing the joy is in the journey to include joy in the bumps and slowdowns. It means somehow, (I’m still working on it), allowing those inconveniences to become part of the adventure. I know that sounds crazy but at the same time it sounds…enticing.
I’m one of those crazy people who believe the Bible and believe what it teaches about life and God and I am learning to believe that God has His hand on the wheel and throttle of life. He has a reason for cruising free and clear down the interstate of life and He has a reason for the bumps and slowdowns of life. It becomes a matter of being willing to trust Him for both. A favorite proverb from the Book of Proverbs says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Well, there you go. Do life by trusting Him.
When I saw those brake lights the other day and had to slowdown…and even stop, it seems there was a whisper in my ear. It wasn’t shouting frustration or demanding an explanation. It was something I had heard before and needed to hear again. It simply said, “Don’t worry, son, I’ve got this.” Bro. Dewayne