The shock of it all nearly caused me to skid off the road. Luckily, no one was behind me when I slammed on my brakes. It couldn’t be the same place, could it? But it was.
This past winter, in a foolish attempt to take photos one cold, foggy morning, I took a detour down a treacherous, muddy road. My car wallowed in the thick soggy earth, I barely made it through, and the friends I saw right after the experience still laugh about the look on my face when I told them the story. How scared I was, how my car kept getting bogged down by the thick, viscous mud, how I was sliding from side to side and couldn’t slow down or pull over or stop and I was bouncing through pot holes and holding on to the steering wheel for dear life and praying out loud the whole time — nothing any more coherent than “Lord Jesus, please, Lord Jesus, please” over and over again. But today? Today it looked lovely. Clear, golden sunshine filtering down onto the weeds and flowers, which were overgrown at the end of summer, the feathery grasses rippling in the warm breeze. Bountiful fields of crops, looking ripe and hearty under a brilliant blue sky. Hard-packed dusty ground traced a benign path between the fields. It appeared to be the perfect, peaceful, idyllic country scene.
My journey last winter struck terror in my heart — and today? Nothing. Sometimes it’s all about timing. It’s about seasons, and using wisdom, and knowing when to put yourself into situations and when to take yourself out. The same goes for the spiritual world, too. My faith is strong today, but what about last month? Or two weeks from now? We can’t stop watching where we are going. The very same place that is dangerous today might not be in six months. And what was perfectly fine last year could be very, very dangerous and traumatic this year. There are innumerable variables that change daily — our situations, our circumstances, our finances, insecurities, emotions, hormones, relationships, self-esteem. Maybe running into your ex-boyfriend this week wouldn’t phase you, but had you seen him two months ago when you were tired and exhausted and mad at your husband, it could have led to lots of bad complications. Maybe this month your bills are paid, but next month you will be tempted by money someone left sitting out or lie about your situation to get your creditors off your back.
I guess that is why we’re told to rely on our faith. Faith comes from God, not from us, so it’s not dependent on our judgment or abilities or circumstances. We can’t know what dangers lurk around the next bend. How bumpy the road will be. How slippery the path. Without faith, the thought of navigating down that road is really scary. But with faith – with Him – we can take a deep breath and relax our grip on the wheel. Because we know He’ll help us stay on the right road.