While heading home from a meeting one day, I was struck by the startling realization that I often like to take the easy way out of situations, especially when it comes to driving. Usually I choose to get off the highway at the first available exit to avoid sitting in traffic. Or I’ll take a far more roundabout route just to prevent having to experience the frustration of waiting patiently behind the long line of cars up ahead.
In most cases, I would just prefer that someone else drive altogether.
Yet on that particular afternoon, as I approached the traffic ahead of me, I made the decision to wait. I made the decision not to look for the easy way out.
Somehow in that moment, as I contemplated my approach to life behind the wheel, I felt the need to endure the process of waiting. It was early September, and in just a couple of weeks, I would be preparing to start my studies at seminary in Boston, and figured I should probably get accustomed to this kind of discomfort on the road.
An interesting thing happened as I waited.
I began to reflect on times in my life when I’ve considered or taken the easy way out.
You know – that disagreement you had with a friend where instead of apologizing, you just “fall out of touch”. Or, rather than taking the time to communicate how something your family member said or did made you feel, you operate with a passive-aggressive attitude, always walking around with a chip on your shoulder and a grudge in your heart. Or, maybe you were thinking that it would just be easier to call it quits on your marriage than to work through the issues. Or, that time you just didn’t bother to try something new, because why would this work out if everything you’ve attempted before failed?!
Oh, you’ve never had those thoughts?
Maybe it’s just me.
Back to what I was saying:
What made this moment of introspection so relevant, was the realization that my family was about to embark on a journey for which there was no easy exit. There would be no “quick” way out of the process we were about to endure.
My husband and I had made a commitment to intentionally learn more about God’s Word, and seek His face like never before. I realized that there would be many uncomfortable moments, times when we would feel stuck in traffic, because there are lots of cars and everyone is going in this direction, but God is telling us that we can’t move yet!
It’s not our turn, and if we move before our time we’ll cause an accident.
I realized that God was asking us not just to trust Him, but to be completely dependent on Him, like GPS, telling us where traffic is up ahead, so that we can prepare ourselves. Not to take an alternate route, in this case, but to prepare ourselves to be patient, to prepare ourselves to be strong, to prepare ourselves to endure.
“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
~ James 1:4
A new year is well under way, and just as I sensed in that moment of reflection, there has not been, and there will not be an easy way out of this season of life. Completing seminary is a process. Learning to serve in humility is a process. Learning to understand, embrace, respect and honor the incredible role and responsibility that ministry brings is a process. Learning to be faithful stewards of our resources – our time, our finances, our gifts, abilities and opportunities – is a process.
Learning to be good, faithful, committed and loving spouses, in spite of and in light of the changes we are experiencing is a pro-cess. Seriously. Learning to raise our children in a world that seems so full of turmoil, discontentment, and the pressure to give in to voices other than God’s, is a process. Learning to live lives of holistic health and wellness, while unlearning the habits that hold us back, is a process.
And if we don’t go through the process, we are destined to destroy whatever God puts in our hands.
So with that said, we won’t take any easy way out. We will wait patiently on God, to bring us through this process, to transform us in this process, to move us to where He wants us to be.
And at the end of it all, I know that we can truly say that He is a faithful God.
Maybe you are in the midst of a process that requires you to wait on God. Be encouraged. Don’t become weary in the waiting.
“…But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
~ Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)
“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
~ Psalm 27:14 (KJV)