Sometimes, when we can’t see the road ahead of us, we need to walk by faith, trusting that God will guide our path. Like a little child with unwavering faith in her daddy’s ability to lead and protect her, we can trust that Jesus will continue to steer us in the right direction when our sight fails us.
A little yawn floated forward from the backseat. The baby was still asleep, but our 2-year-old sat quietly looking out her window, drinking water from her favorite green sippy cup, and watching a brilliant sunrise light up the Texas sky.
I turned and whispered good morning, and she smiled back at me. A cascade of Shirley Temple curls had freed themselves from a clippy and were wildly protesting being pressed against one side of her car seat. We’d left Florida the night before, and if the rest of the trip went smoothly, we’d pull into my parents’ driveway before lunch.
My husband, James, was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base and, after several cross-country trips to visit family, we’d accidentally discovered that driving through the night was a great way to travel with young children.
It makes me tired just thinking about making a trip like this now, but in our early 20s we’d eat dinner, put the kids in pajamas, and hit the road. As planned, the kids slept through most of the drive, but as we discussed where to stop for breakfast, our daughter interjected.
“Why…” She paused, fishing for the right words to complete her thought. “Why we go this way?”
I laughed on the inside. How would my husband explain to our daughter that we chose to travel down I-20 because it was the fastest route, didn’t have tolls, and had safe places to stop along the way? She was two and wouldn’t understand any of that.
“We’re going to see Grandma and Papa,” he answered, having interpreted her question as “where are we going?”
“Oh,” she responded, flatly.
Thinking the matter was settled we continued with our conversation, but a few moments later, she called again from the backseat.
“Why we go this way?” She was worried, and the fear in her voice quickly grabbed my attention.
If she wasn’t asking where we were going, maybe she wanted to know where we were. That would make sense, right? She’d fallen asleep somewhere in Mississippi and opened her eyes in East Texas. Nothing she saw out the window was familiar.
I looked over at my husband and found my confusion mirrored in his expression. After a few seconds, James shrugged and replied, “Well baby, because that’s the way the road goes.”
I didn’t have a better answer on deck, but his reply wasn’t at all what I expected. I’d heard about dad jokes, but surely this wasn’t the time. How he came up with that response is still a mystery, and so is the way she received it.
“Oooooh.” She sighed, as if her daddy’s answer made perfect sense. Completely satisfied, she pulled her fuzzy blanket into her lap, and relaxed for the rest of the ride.
TRUSTING GOD IN THE UNKNOWN
Looking back at that experience, I’m reminded of a verse from the book of Isaiah.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3, NIV).
She didn’t see James check the oil and the tires on the car before we left, but he did.
She didn’t see him fill out the appropriate government forms for leave, but he did.
She didn’t notice that we napped the afternoon before we left, but we did.
She didn’t know about the money we saved, or the plans we changed, or the preparations we made months before we left on vacation.
And at 2 years old, most of you would probably agree that she didn’t need to know about such things. It would’ve been a waste of time to explain them to a child who didn’t have the perspective, experience, or capability to comprehend such information and apply it to her thinking.
But when I told you she sounded worried because she didn’t understand where we were, I bet you understood exactly how she was feeling. Maybe you felt her concern was understandable for her age and the circumstances. You may have even come up with a better answer than my 21-year-old self could in the moment.
Here’s the thing, though. She didn’t know about all the things her parents had going on behind the scenes to prepare and equip our family for our trip to Texas. But in the middle of the journey, when she woke up and felt afraid, our daughter found peace because she trusted her daddy.
We can trust our Father like that, too.
FAITH TO FOLLOW THE WINDING ROAD
When life proceeds as expected or the surprises that pop up seem to be in our favor, it’s easy to pull up our blankets and settle in for the ride. But when life gets uncomfortable, when our circumstances feel unsafe or unfair, or when we find ourselves walking through a wilderness we’d only glimpsed from a distance, we have a tendency to get restless.
And if we find ourselves on a path we didn’t choose for ourselves, or paying the consequences for poor decisions made by others, it’s tempting to unbuckle ourselves, get out of the car, and start walking in a direction that makes more sense to us.
Forget waiting on God and trusting in His timing, we’ll just dismiss the reality of our limited perspective and handle things ourselves. If you’re picturing the Israelites collecting jewelry making a gold idol while Moses was up on the mountain with God, we’re on the same page.
Sometimes our way might work for a time, but after we’ve made a mess of things trying to do God’s job in our own strength, we usually find ourselves crying out to Him in desperation.
In His great love and grace, and because He works all things for our good, He reroutes us. As we learn to trust Him more completely, we begin to understand that sometimes He takes us down a path where we’ll be confronted by things that will grow us, things that will challenge us, things that will refine us, things that will shape us into the people we were meant to become.
So how are we supposed to do that? How are we going to walk forward confidently on the path God directs us to take?
The same way that Abraham did. By faith.
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).
Grammatically speaking, the first two words of that verse aren’t necessary for the sentence to make sense, but they’re there for a reason. Those two little words tell us how Abraham was able to obey. And if you’re struggling with building your faith muscles, you’re not alone. Even the disciples had some issues with having faith, and they were doing life with the Savior!
PURSUING PEACE ON THE JOURNEY
Our God is worthy of our trust. On hard days, when the path we’re on feels uncomfortable and unfamiliar, we can trust that God is weaving things together that we cannot see, understand, or even conceive. Maybe He wants us to learn something. Maybe He wants us to experience something. Maybe He wants us to let go of something and draw closer to Him. The possibilities are as endless as He is.
When we’re scared or unsure, it’s okay to call out to Him, “Daddy, why are we going this way?” He understands our limitations and our hearts, and will provide the peace we’re looking for when we take Him at His Word.
He loves you, and that’s the way your road goes.
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