We’re closing in on Sanibel. Of 1,408 miles from home, only 148 remain. Twenty hours down, two to go. Unless traffic suddenly comes to a dead stop on I-75 en route to Florida for spring break as it’s liable to do.
Unless that happens and I don’t take the reroute.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. That’s how the writer of the book of Hebrews describes faith in chapter 11. Faith means trusting God when we can’t see the road ahead.
It’s been two years since we walked these beaches and soaked in this island sun and two years since that little stop off the causeway got me wondering if others can see how much we’ve grown.
I don’t know if others can. But in this one way, I think I’ve grown: I’m learning to embrace life’s reroutes faster.
I’m getting better at accepting changes in my plans. I mean, I’m learning to accept them gratefully like the reroutes that suddenly pop up on my screen.
If you use GPS or Google Maps, you know just what I mean.
Just shy of Chattanooga last night, that calm female voice broke in to say, “There is a delay on I-24 two miles ahead. Exit on state road 11 and save 37 minutes. Press yes to accept this reroute.”
I did. In a heartbeat I did. I gladly accepted that reroute.
Because I trust that the GPS Girl knows best. I trust Google’s eagle eye view of the roads. So I trust her completely with the way our van takes.
But sometimes I question whether God’s got my best route figured out. Sometimes I get thinking that interruptions in my time and deviations from my plans are beyond His view.
As if they could halt his plan. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me, Psalm 138:8 says. As if accidents and wrong turns and lost jobs ever catch God by surprise.
After 24 years with the same employer, my husband’s job ends next month. After giving thousands of eye exams, the optical is in bankruptcy and this job is over. Paycheck ends, insurance ends, this stability ends.
We don’t know what’s next. The road ahead is unknown.
We all like stability. We like to know the route, the plan. It’s the uncertainty that’s killing me, we say as we await a lab result or a call back. It’s this not knowing what’s ahead that’s hard.
[A]nd he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge, the fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure. That’s the comfort the prophet Isaiah provides God’s afflicted children (33:6).
Here’s where my relationship the GPS Girl helps me trust God. When make a wrong turn or the road gets blocked ahead, the GPS Girl doesn’t get mad. She doesn’t yell at me or go silent. She provides stability.
If we have ears to hear, we’ll hear her say in that same calm, composed way: Recalculating.
In her steady, calm way, she reassures, It’ll take a little longer, but I’ll get you there. Wrong turn, missed exit, accident- no matter, I’ll still get you there.
But the analogy between the GPS Girl and God breaks down here, because God never has to recalculate. He knew your days before you were born.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. That’s where Asaph lands at the end of Psalm 73, after he envied the prosperity of the wicked. Like when I envied the drivers that zipped along on the right shoulder while we waited at a dead stop north of Nashville.
Nevertheless. I love that nevertheless. Because I make wrong turns and because other people’s accidents affect my travel. They change my plans and slow me down.
Nevertheless…I guide you. Like the GPS Girl. She doesn’t get mad at me when wrong turns and accidents happen. She doesn’t give up either. We hear her say,Re-calculating.
And we hear God say: Trust me. I’ll guide you. There is another way.
That’s why Corrie ten Boom’s words makes sense, Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
Because He sees the road ahead. Because reroutes don’t come by chance, but from God’s loving and wise fatherly hand.
Faith is relying on God’s love and resting in him when we face reroutes. Faith is seeing God’s hand. Growing in faith is seeing his hand more and faster, more and more cheerfully
Author and theologian, Joel Beeke explains,
Faith sees God’s hand everywhere, unbelief sees God’s hand nowhere; not in big things or in small, everyday things.
If we see God’s hand we realize that we are dependent on him. This is maturity- to realize we need him.
I believe and help my unbelief. Because, truth be told, sometimes I trust the GPS Girl more than the Almighty God. I wonder about the route to Jim’s next job. But instantly I press accept and off we go on a scenic detour of Lookout Mountain outside Chattanooga.
I want to trust God like this, because he sees the road ahead better, and he’s got my best interest in heart. We cannot always trace God’s hand,Spurgeon said, but we can always trust God’s heart. I want to rest in that.
Because He knows the way I take. And he knows all the roads in front of me more than the GPS Girl.
So how could I trust him less?
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.