To clean the bugs off…pull over…

messyWhile traveling, I enjoy the beauty of nature and the sunrise/sunset through a windshield, it is almost blissful to me. The trip always starts with me being prepared: potty, gas, fluid check, tires, playlist, sweet tea and sunflower seeds…good to go. I’m driving along enjoying Third Day, sipping on a peace tea and taking in the amazing views. A few dozen miles in a bug hits the windshield, dodge a few tire chunks and I am making good time. I few hundred miles later the bugs are really adding up and I am running on fumes and the tea needs to find a new home. I find a safe looking place that has the cheapest gas and whoop in. Tires look fine, fluids should be fine, gas is full, bladder is empty and time to roll.

It is getting late now and the sun is setting. The glare is brightly beaming in my windshield and the bugs have made a permanent resting place with my glass. I can hardly see as I slouch down in my seat to find that opening between the dragon fly and pair of love bugs and I make the decision to push the washer fluid button on the column…instantly I am blind and driving 70 mph. I hold the button down and swish, swish, smear…a gallon later and the mess on my windshield is so bad I am now driving by braille.

The sun is now going to bed for the night and the cruise control is off because I can’t see and my seat has permanent grip marks in it now from the near accident I had trying to dodge the large truck tire in the middle of the road. My stomach is in knots, I’m stressed to the max, tunes are off and I just want to get where I am going and be done with this flipping trip…

windshieldThis day just as many other days started out great with a majestic view of the sunrise, and I appreciate and marvel at the beauty of nature but as the bugs pilled on the windshield and the stress set in, the beauty and majesty of the sunset was lost in the circumstances. I have been driving for almost 30 years and after all this time you would think I would have learned to simply pull over and clean the windshield but it seems I either forget or just don’t feel like it.

Life is similar in so many ways. One constant we all share is life is going to throw bugs on our windshield, problems are going to come and it is going to get messy. Some can’t take it and do the unthinkable, some turn to substances, some sex and some just sink into a shell of seclusion (this guy). During these messy times it is easy to get into trouble or fall into the pits along the way but another constant during these travels of life is the beauty and majesty we once appreciated is still there and never changing, what changes is us and how we view it through our windshield. The life cleaner is God but He never makes us pull over and use the power He gives freely via the Holy Spirit, instead He leaves that resource up to us to tap into and sadly most of us reserve it until we can’t see past the pain or trouble we wake up into. The bugs are coming and life is going to get messy, it is up to us to pull over and allow God to change our perspective. The trip goes so much smoother that way and instead of looking forward to it just being over we can appreciate the beauty on the way.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. -2 Timothy 1:7

“The more we get what we now call ‘ourselves’ out of the way and let Him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become.” -Mere Christianity

Choosing the path is not enough

forkI have learned over the years through both personal experiences and study of scripture that God will allow us to go extended periods of time waiting on Him. It seems as if He is not there and that He does not answer our prayers. He gets us through the horrible pain we land in and we cling to Him and stay close to Him but over time it feels as if He fades away or He no longer cares even though we may be doing things correctly. I don’t believe this is to test our faith or see if we will abandon Him, He already knows that. It is to show US who we are and whether or not we will stay faithful or stray off the path. He gives us the the free will to choose our own path. Perhaps He wants us to know what He knows. I have also learned there is always a consequence for straying off the path or acting without God in our decisions. In the end, what God has planned will happen with or without us kicking or helping along the way.

In Genesis God promised Abram he would have a son and he would have countless heirs yet after many years as his wife Sarai grew old and barren they doubted God and Abram slept with Hagar to have a child and so Ishmael was born. Years later God fulfilled His promise and Abram and his wife had Isaac and Abram went on to be the father of the great nation of Israel but the consequence of his lack of faith was his son out of wedlock went on the be the father of the Muslim nation and the two are at war to this day and the world suffers from a single mans act of disobedience.  Abraham did learn to trust God no matter what as God told him to go and sacrifice his only son, he acted in faith and prepared to kill his only heir but God stopped him and provided an alternate sacrifice. I believe after this Abraham knew he had the faith to trust God and that was the turning point.

Years later the nation of Israel fell to slavery in Egypt where they were killed and punished by their task masters. God said He would deliver them to the promised land and Moses lead them to freedom and they praised God but while they wait in the desert they built false idols and wished they were once again slaves and forgot the pain of the past and what God did for them as they lost faith. In the end Israel did find the promised land but not until all those who fell off the path had died, even Moses did not make it.

I have read countless stories in the bible where God made a promise, the people fell off the path, pain ensued but in the end God fulfilled His promise. I have also experienced it first hand as God saved my son from deaths clutches and I praised him and the storm passed and I fell off the path to wake up lacking in faith and filled with pain. This path may be clear at the fork but when heading down either lane it is easy to find they are both connected along the way and the journey back and forth is a short one. So what is the answer? Clearly it is to have faith in God and follow Him without hesitation or doubt, realistically that is no easy or simple task a self help book or internet outline can help with. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit we all have as a resource but we must get ourselves out of the way and submit…did you cringe at that word? Humility and submissiveness are not words we like to use in our modern American lives but they are keys to freedom and a map to stay on the path to life. There are only two paths to chose from, that is well known but both paths are connected to each other on the journey, sometimes the hard part is sticking to just one. I’m on a side road right now, if you see me come say hello.