Not What I Expected!

It’s not exceptionally late, but I am tired this evening. I happen to be in St. Charles, Missouri, working with a team that I have never met before. The week-end was pretty hectic at home, with guests in from out of town. Then last evening we attended a great concert with Bill and Gloria Gaither – and this morning the construction crew came to the house to replace our roof which sustained massive hail damage in one of the recent storms in our area. Of course, Janet was doing her best to keep everything going in the right direction, but she was tired from all the entertaining and drama that has invaded our lives the past several weeks.

And I had to head out this morning in the midst of all the activity to arrive in St. Charles in time to teach this afternoon. In a way, I was looking forward to the quiet for several hours while I made the drive across the heartland to the St. Louis area. But as is usually the case, nothing happened the way I thought it would. First of all, traffic was backed up getting out of Indianapolis and then, along Route 70, there were a number of construction sites along the way. It would have been different if I had a single delay or could continue to move, even at a slower pace, but the road was littered with areas of closed lanes and there was no telling when you would hit one of the delays that were so annoying. And of course, there are always those folks who try to take shortcuts and circumvent the system. So you are sitting in a line of traffic and somebody zooms up the shoulder ahead of you and ruins it for everyone.

By the time I had been gone several hours, I wasn’t even close to being halfway to St. Louis, which brought up another problem. Additional delays… And you know what? Those delays always happen when you don’t expect them, and certainly don’t want them. It’s tiring, and frustrating and annoying. But throwing a tantrum really doesn’t help. You’re still stuck in a place that generally involves a detour, slow movement and delayed gratification. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a delayed gratification kind of guy…

I got to thinking about the trip today and realized that it is much like the way God works. Rarely does my life go the way that I expect. There are twists and turns and the lessons that I learn along the way are usually not convenient for what I want to do. However, I have also discovered that the lessons I learn are more consistent with the way that God works. If I pray for patience, God doesn’t give me patience – He gives me opportunities to become patient. And if I pray for wisdom, He doesn’t automatically provide it – He puts me in positions where I have the opportunity to acquire wisdom. In other words, God provides the environment but I have to learn the lesson – usually the hard way.

So it took me much longer to get here than I expected – and the route was more difficult than I had hoped. But now that I’m here, I am grateful that it was a safe journey and I was able to fulfill my obligations for the day. The verse for tonight is fromĀ Prov. 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all your heartĀ and lean not on your own understanding.” My encouragement this evening is that God will always put you in places where there is a lesson to learn. Your job is to figure out the lesson. My prayer is that God will continue to prune you and that you will come to realize that God’s desire is that you become as Christlike as possible. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

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