Over this last year, working with Ellel Ministries in Ireland, I’ve spent many hours in a car with my colleagues. We’ve been travelling away from the centre in order to run courses in other places as well.
One of our journeys takes us up and down the A1. This is a main road, and it’s dual carriageway with speed limits set between 60mph (97 Kph) and the national limit of 70 mph (112 Kph). This road functions a bit like a two-lane motorway, except for one thing. On a motorway if you want to join it from a side road you drive up a slip road, and filter into the traffic, going in the direction you desire to travel. You can’t cross from one side of the motorway, wait in the middle, and then go off in the opposite direction. But this is exactly what you can do on this busy A road.
I once had to cross it. I sat in the car waiting for a break in the traffic to zip into the little sanctuary in the middle. I was praying and hoping the back of my car wouldn’t be clipped by vehicles doing 70mph, rushing past me from behind. Then I was watching very carefully for a gap to move into, with cars rushing past at 70mph in front of me. To turn into the traffic from a standing start and get up to speed fast felt very daunting to me. The way my car shook with the passing of every vehicle was really not comfortable, and I could have panicked and made a rash decision, rather than waiting patiently for the right moment to make my move. It came, and I was safely on my way.
The whole incident reminded me of the scripture that talks about the Lord going before us and the God of Israel being our rear guard. We’re all on a journey of discipleship with Jesus, and sometimes the road is easy and straight, but sometimes we have decisions to make. Sometimes, as we wait, we feel we’re in a vulnerable position, and we can be tempted to make a hasty decision. It seems to me that God promises us great protection if we’ll let Him protect us, and there’s no rush if we wait on His timing, and don’t allow ourselves to be pushed by our circumstances.
The journey we take, even if it has some challenges, is worth it. I wonder where you are right now. Are you on a straight stretch enjoying the view, or trying to cross at a busy time of day? Or perhaps you’re sitting in the middle waiting for the moment to move and wondering if it will ever come? Wherever you are Jesus is with you on your journey.
Prayer: Father, thank You that You know my going out and my coming in. Thank You that You go before me, and You’re my rear guard. Thank You that You’re concerned for my journey of growth, and that You do direct my paths. Please help me stay alert to Your directions, and help me to enjoy the thing You desire to show me along the way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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