Rough Roads, Transitions, and God’s Presence

On a recent Friday evening I took one of my daughters and a friend of hers to Cherry Crest Farms for the flashlight maze.  I had never been through a corn field at night, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  However, being one for adventure, and the fact that this had been on my to-do list for a while, I was really looking forward to roaming through the maize in the dark.

We entered the grounds of the farm and were met with a festive atmosphere.  For us, the mood changed to excitement as we stepped on to the maze path. As we moved through the entrance of the maize, we approached a sign that gave us three path options: easy, intermediate, or advanced.  Unanimously we decided to take the intermediate route.

We clicked our flashlights on and headed into the dark field in search of clues to guide us along our way.  After a while we reached our first sign.  The clue on the back of the sign gave us directions to our next check point.  I saw a mailbox near the sign, but ignored it thinking, what a strange place to plant a mailbox! Why is there a mailbox in the middle of a cornfield?  It didn’t occur to any of us until we reached the next sign and mailbox that the boxes contained puzzle pieces that we needed to collect so that we could complete our map.  I guess you could say that we missed the obvious, but when you are in a cornfield in the dark, the obvious can become a little skewed!

Throughout our journey, we occasionally came across others who were on their own path, but at times, ended up crossing over the same path we were traveling down.  We were all looking for clues and puzzle pieces to fill in our blank maps.  At one point in our adventure, my group turned down a really long and dark path that must have been near the center of the cornfield. Up until this point in our trek I had been quiet.  It was when we turned down this path that I spoke, “I am glad that I am not out here alone.  I think I’d be really freaked out by now.”  At that very moment, I was reminded of God’s presence, and how He has been with me throughout this journey called life.

In reality, we are all on a journey with varying paths that cross in and out of the lives of others.  Sometimes our paths are easy.  Sometimes our paths are a little more challenging.  And sometimes we find ourselves in the midst of an extremely difficult journey.  As of this writing, I have found myself on one of those rough roads.  Had I known what was coming, I think I would have been looking for an off ramp.  However, this road is causing me to seek God more and more through His word and through prayer.  But in all honestly, even though I know that God is with me, there have been times when I have wondered if He was hearing my prayers, or if I was just talking to thin air.  Sometimes through my frustration with His silence, my raw feelings ended up verbalized.  As a result, my heart has echoed the words Habakkuk spoke long ago, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (1:2a) And I have spoken the same words David spoke which are found in Psalm 55:1-2a, “Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me.”

As strange as this might sound, it is comforting to know that others who have been though difficult journeys have also voiced their raw feelings to God and pleaded with Him to hear their prayer. When I was younger, I feared that God would strike me dead if I talked to Him so openly.  I have no idea where those thoughts and fears originated, but based on 2 Timothy 1:7, I am sure God didn’t put them in my head.

A little further on in chapter 1 of Habakkuk is verse 5 and this promise from God in response to Habakkuk’s plea, “Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed.  For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”   Once again I am reminded that God does not forsake His own (Deuteronomy 31:6).  Although it may seem that He is silent, He does hear, He is listening, and He will rescue in His own way and His own timing.  The key word is timing.  My own selfishness wants God to answer my prayer RIGHT NOW, but at times God tends to work slowly yet methodically.

In regards to this rough road I am traveling down, I can say that God is working and something is happening.  Probably the most amazing thing happening is that He’s changing me.  So while my circumstances are not currently changing, nor is my difficult road becoming any easier, God is “amazing me” by His grace of softening my attitude, shoring up my emotions, and teaching me to look differently at life and life’s events.  He is also drawing me very close to Him, which I think is the most important thing of all.

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I have no idea what road you are currently traveling down.  Maybe it’s an easy road.  Maybe it’s an intermediate one.  Or maybe it’s a road of such difficulty and you have no idea how you got there, or how you will ever get out, or even if we will get out.  All you know is that you are in a very scary place, and that life is truly in the advanced stages of complexity.  I want you to know that Jesus stands willing to walk with you, and to help guide you down life’s roads.  In fact, He’s willing to carry you if that is what you need.  Personally, I have no idea what I would do if He wasn’t walking with me…or carrying me some days.

When life gets crazy difficult, there are all kinds of things we could put our trust in to help see us through to the end.  For me, I’m staking claim to this declaration from Psalm 20:7. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we [I] trust in the name of the Lord our [my] God.”  What about you?  In whom or what do you trust?

These are two songs that lately I can’t seem to stop playing.  I hope that they are an encouragement to you.

Selah – Through It All

Selah – Press On

Photo images are all public domain pictures and free stock photo images

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