Saturday, August 22, 2009

Driving in the Dark

Last Monday night I went to a gathering of people talking about the future of LaFa, the 20-somethings ministry that I have been involved with for the past 6 months or so. We first met at someone's barn, then we traveled to another person's house in Stuarts Draft (a town I'm not very familiar with...smaller than Staunton, a lot of farmland). We drank coffee, talked, prayed, drank more coffee and talked some more and before we all knew it, it was 11:30pm. I, for one, had to work the next morning, so I realized I needed to go home.

Because we met somewhere else and then drove to the house, I didn't quite know what the best way was to get to the highway. I didn't have my GPS with me, so lucky for me someone offered to let me follow him, because he was headed to the highway, too.

If you know me well, you are probably aware that I don't like driving at night. I'd much rather do my long trips during daylight hours. It's not that I can't drive at night, it's just that I don't feel as though I see as well, especially with the constant changes between headlights blaring in your eyes and then full darkness ahead. As we were driving, I was able to keep a good distance behind the car I was following, and we were on our merry way.

At one point, I thought I knew where we were, and I thought I knew where we were going. I was surprised, then, when we turned onto a small (and very dark) windy country road instead of sticking to the "main drag". It was on this small and windy road that I realized something. Once-in-awhile, the car ahead of me would be around a bend or over a hill, and I wouldn't be able to see it. In those moments, even though I knew that the car was still ahead of me, I felt my heartbeat quicken and my thoughts go to, "What if he turns and I don't see him, I don't think I can get home from here..." Then I would see him again and everything would be fine.

The thing that I realized is that I'm like this a lot with my relationship with God. I'll be walking along, doing the things that I know are good and meaningful in my life. Then I'll start to recognize the path that I'm on, the experiences I'm having, the feelings I have, and I'll think that I know where I'm headed. Then, because God knows better than I what is best, he'll throw me a curve ball and take me down a dark and windy road with nothing but his light in front of me. I can't necessarily see my surroundings, I don't know when the road is going to turn, sometimes I can't even see the light in front of me and I have to just keep going, trusting that it will be there on the other side of the hill. When I am in times like this I feel the same way as when I was driving down the road late at night, "Is this really the right place? How will I get where I need to go if we go this way?" My heart quickens and my mind thinks about all the ways that I might have to figure out where I am, in case I somehow followed the wrong path or missed a turn (opportunity).

The cure for that feeling, I think, is quiet dependence: something I'm not very practiced at. I know God is at work in my life, and I know he is working all things together for the good of those who love him. I trust him to lead me where I need to go. I just don't know where that might be, nor do I know any sort of time frames for anything. It's okay, I tell myself, I don't need to have all the answers right now. Just keep following that light.

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