The other day, I was driving into Seattle after dropping the kids off at school. It was an incredibly foggy morning (which I was loving, by the way). After crossing Lake Washington and merging onto I-5 north, I saw the strangest thing. There was a vertical beam of brilliance. I stared at this for a couple seconds before I realized it must be the sun reflecting off a sky-rise building. It was such a pretty sight to behold. About 50 car lengths later, I emerged into a fully sunlight area. No fog! The sun was reflecting off all the buildings in such a way that I had to shield my eyes. And to add to the drama, the Christmas music I was listening to suddenly had a crescendo. It was really a cool moment.
Then, I had the a-ha moment.
With the fog, I had an idea of where I was going, but the whole path wasn’t lit for me. I was following the path knowing I would get to my destination in time, but I had a limited view of what was going on around me. But then, the whole picture was made evident and I could clearly see.
Where am I going with this? Let me tell you. And let me also reinforce how when God wants to convey something to you, he uses multiple resources. I had this thought, coupled with my devotional reading from the book Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow, which I’ve been working through over the last month. Here was the example I read the next morning:
Imagine you are standing at the top of Niagara Falls. A tightrope is stretched above the water between the two shores. On the tightrope is a man with a wheelbarrow. In the wheelbarrow is a 200-pound Saint Bernard dog. You watch in amazement as the man pushes the dog and the wheelbarrow safely back and forth above the falls.
After his fifth successful trip, the man turns to the crowd and says, “I can easily take a man or woman across the falls in this wheelbarrow. Do you believe this?” You think, “No problem! After all, most people would weigh less than the huge dog and not squirm as much.” As you vigorously nod your head, agreeing that the man could do such a thing, he turns, points to you and says, “Get in.”
The point she conveyed is that it’s one thing to believe God can do something. It’s quite a different situation to put yourself in a position of reliant trust. That is the distinction between intellectual belief and wholehearted faith.
This move for us has been that leap of wholehearted faith. We have no idea what is before us. Our intellectual belief says, “Yeah, we trust in God.” But rather than just stating it and staying where we were, comfortable and stagnant, we acted on our wholehearted faith that let God lead us where he would have us to go.
Do we have the answer to his grand plan yet? No. Sometimes that takes years for people to even glimpse, let alone see the big picture. But I was heartened by this verse this week, from yet another reading I’m doing with the kids through Advent.
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16
See how all these things come together?
When we’re wondering how God will guide us in the future, about the only thing we can be sure of is that it will be in a way we never expected, maybe even in a way he’s never done before. This happened to Mary and Joseph years ago as they experienced Mary’s pregnancy and the following birth of Christ, and all the wondrous miracles that ensued. And the wondrous miracles have not stopped there. God is very real and present in our lives today. He has a plan for each one of us.
Yes, his timing is not our timing. Remember to look up Isaiah 55:8-9 if you question this. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he’s smarter than we are, and he sees things in ways we don’t understand. If God seems reluctant to answer our prayers and meet our needs, you can be sure it’s for a good reason.
This Christmas season, I encourage you to evaluate your faith. Is it intellectual belief, or wholehearted faith? It’s no small thing to trust and obey and to take that step in faith. Don’t miss the breathtaking by getting bogged down in the fog. Hang in there and stay the course!
My moments of thanksgiving:
1. Silly as it sounds, a good hair day!
2. A great weekend with the family.
3. Peace (somehow) about my insane study schedule.
4. The smiles I get on my face as I view God’s creation and fun surprises during my drive into the city.
5. Knowing I have a Savior that loves me and wants what is absolutely the best for me and my family.
6. A healthy family.
7. Joy in connecting with a stranger and having a positive impact on his day.