Friday, August 21, 2015

Caution! Turns Ahead!

Sometimes we come to life's crossroads and view what we think is the end, 
But God has a much wider vision, and He knows it's only a bend.
The road will go on and get smoother, and after we've stopped for a rest, 
The path that lies hidden beyond us is often the part that is best.
So rest and relax and grow stronger; let go and let God share your load, 
And have faith in a brighter tomorrow; you've just come to a bend in the road.
Helen Steiner Rice

A bend in the road.  Scary thought, isn't it?  I mean the road has been rough enough, but now there's a bend too?  A bend that we can't see beyond.  A bend that could be hiding any number of possibilities from our view.  A bend that could change everything, and let's face it--change frightens us.  

I'm reminded of a roller coaster.  I love the crazy things.  Big hills?  Bring it on.  Twisty turns?  That's the way I like it.  Corkscrew loops?  Oh, yeah!  Pitch black?  Um, now wait a minute.  Yes, you've discovered my weakness--I'm scared of the dark.  Well, not really, but a roller coaster that I would enjoy in the light has the tendency to bring me to the brink of terror in the dark.  I don't mind the hills, the corkscrews, the twists and the turns. . .as long as I know they're coming.  In the darkness, I can't see, so I don't know what to expect.  And somehow, that uneasiness of the unknown turns my adrenalin rush into genuine fear.

The unknown has a way of doing that, doesn't it?  That's why those bends in the road cause such anxiety.  But could it be that we're missing something?  Could it be that we're so worked up about the unknown and the path that is hidden from view that we're missing one of the biggest results of a bend in the road?  We know that God has a purpose for everything.  He doesn't place bends in the road for no reason, and I think one of those reasons is to make us slow down.

Think about it, when we're driving and we come up to a bend in the road, what do we do?  We hit the brakes, right?  Most of us (and I say "most" because I've seen some drivers that might not qualify for this statement) wouldn't dream of hitting that bend at our current speed.  That speed is meant for straightaways, not for curves.  So, out of good sense and a desire to stay safe, we slow down and take the bend at a reduced speed.

Perhaps that is all God is trying to do with our current bends in the road.  He wants us to slow down.  He desires for us to be still.  He longs for us to take some time to just be.  It is during those times that we can feel His closeness and hear His voice.  How many times have we missed it because there's too much to do, because we were simply speeding through life?

A few weeks ago, I started the routine of taking an afternoon nap.  I know it sounds crazy, but I was tired of feeling like a hamster on a wheel.  I was exhausted and overwhelmed.  Too much to do, not enough time and energy to get it all done.  You know the routine, right?  At first, I argued that I couldn't give up an hour of my time each day.  I already wasn't getting everything done.  I also argued that I don't like naps and that I would never be able to sleep in the middle of the afternoon.

Well, so far, I haven't slept during a single nap, but I have gotten still, and in that stillness each day, I've felt my joy and peace being restored.  So much so that I was much more happy and productive in the afternoon than I had been before I started napping.  There's just something about getting the body (and the mind) still for a while, and honestly, I think far too many of us are racing around the curves instead of using those bends in the road as a sign to slow down.

I know there's a lot to do.  Trust me, I understand.  But may I remind you that "Be still and know that I am God" is not a request or suggestion?  It's a command.  How many of us are heeding it?

Are you facing a bend in the road?  Is that sense of uneasiness getting out of control?  Take it easy.  God is working all things for your good, so whatever is waiting around the bend is a good thing.  In the meantime, slow down and enjoy the ride.  After all, the Driver has it under control.

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. - Psalm 46:10

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