Trust and Traffic Lights

I hate traffic.  Really really hate it.  I grew up in a large city and for the last ten years have had opportunity to live in a smaller city.  Whenever I visit to the big city, I find myself disliking traffic even more.

This week I went the the big city for an event with friends.  As the brake lights started filling my vision, I got annoyed.  I sped up to 60 and then dropped to 15 a half mile later, and I got huffy (grr, Slinky traffic!).  My nostrils flared as I tried to make a lane change and wouldn’t be let in.  By the time I got off the highway and literally encountered five red stoplights in six blocks, I was not a fun person to be in the car with.

We arrived at our dinner destination 20 minutes late.  It didn’t really matter since there wasn’t a crowd to contend with and we still had plenty of time before the event, but I was still antsy about not meeting our self-imposed timeline.  Deep breaths, and I was eventually able to relax and enjoy the evening.

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend about a problem situation when he said, “Alissa, it sounds like you don’t trust God.”

I paused and thought about that for a moment.  “Nope.  You’re absolutely right.  I don’t trust God.”

(Whew!  I’m still here.  Lightning didn’t strike me for admitting that.  So let me go on.)

In my Bible study this week we compared trusting God to a chair.  We can point to a chair and say that it’s a good chair and will hold our weight, but unless we actually sit in the chair we’re not putting that belief into action.

If someone else had been driving us to the big city this week, I would have been happier as I wouldn’t have had to deal with these little annoyances that added up to a big ol’ pile of grrr.

But in my life, sometimes it’s hard to let God take the wheel and drive.  Sure He could get me to my “destinations” a little faster, but what if He doesn’t?  What if He chooses to take the scenic route and we arrive later than I think we should?  Or what if He actually takes a different route to an entirely different destination that I hadn’t planned on going?  “Yeah, I’m sure the Grand Canyon is nice, God, but I had actually planned on seeing the Grand Tetons.”

I admit that when I hand the wheel over to God I often want Him to be my servant, following my orders, doing exactly what I want and taking exactly the route I think is best.  If (ha! when) He doesn’t, I’m apt to shove Him out of the driver’s seat exclaiming, “No!  You’re doing it wrong!”

I don’t trust God.  That’s the honest truth.

But I sooooo want to trust Him!  I know that He’s so much bigger than me and smarter than me.  I know that He sees the big picture where I see the small picture, so I know that His timing – even though I don’t get it – is better than mine.  I know that He loves me and will take care of me.  I know that if end up where He knows I should be instead of where I want me to be that He’ll give me what I need for that new situation.  And I know that when I have turned things over to him in the past He has more than proved Himself.

So why can’t I sit on the chair?

Why can’t I hand over the wheel so I can enjoy the scenery while letting God look at the map and the brake lights?

Why are there some areas of our lives that we have such a hard time trusting God with?

There was a great sermon at my church a few months back specifically about trusting God when God’s plan doesn’t line up with ours.  My pastor gave some specific examples, but the overall question was the same.  Here’s some of the hardest questions even to ask yourself:

Do you believe that God is good?  Do you believe that He loves you?  Do you believe that He will keep His promise to take care of you?  Do you believe that God alone knows all the angles and all the reasons and all the causes and all the events that have led you to where you are today, and where they’ll take you tomorrow?  Do you believe that God has the ability to do and accomplish anything that He wants to do and accomplish in your life?  Do you believe that under human power many things are impossible but with Christ all things really are possible?  Do you believe that God really is looking out for your best interest, even though you don’t understand it, and that He knows what’s best for you better than you know what’s best for you or anyone else could tell you what’s best for you?  Do you believe that if God tells you to do something or if, like Paul, you ask God to do something or ask Him to change something because it’s hard or it’s frustrating or it’s unfair and God looks back at you and says, “No,” do you really believe that He will keep his promise to give you more than enough grace and mercy to do what He’s told you to do or to not do what He’s told you not to do?  To not give up even when what you’re going through is not going to stop any time soon, or maybe ever?  (Jim Burgen)

If you’re looking here at the bottom of the post for an answer, I don’t have one for you.  It’s a daily struggle for me to try to hand over this wheel.  Maybe it’s something I won’t ever figure out.  Maybe that’s what following God is all about, working day by day and millimeter by millimeter to release things to Him, trusting Him and following Him.  Sometimes it’s two steps forward one back, and sometimes one step forward three back.

I want to trust Him.  God, help me!

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