I turned south.
Dark low clouds loomed in front of me.
I’d dreaded this trip all week.
Weather threatened the Texas coast and I tried, unsuccessfully, to escape a work trip into the vortex of what promised to be stormy.
As I drove further, a remarkable thing occurred.
The two lane road I’d turned onto was wet.
Clearly, the storms had hit this patch of the county.
To my right, the clouds hung low and storms held their fervor.
To my left, beautiful bright blue skies held with only a spotty gleaming white cloud from time to time.
The road I traveled was the earthly dividing line.
Storms and calm. Chaos and peace. Clear evidence of the storms lay on the ground.
The road between.
As I drove, breathing relief for the respite, I listened to messages from two dear girlfriends on our daily Voxer chain (smartphone voicemail). Each of the others were going through storms heavier than my own. One of their voices came through with this wisdom after her weekend of soul-searching:
There are times when I have to question and wonder, why God? Why do I always feel like I’m two steps behind and drowning? And I don’t know the answer to that. But one thing I realize is that God is perfect and He has a reason for this. I don’t know the timeline. But I just have to trust that I’m not perfect and even though this is not the way I would like it done, I’m the imperfect one. I just have to trust and have faith in Him.
There are two things that keep me from keeping this message at the forefront of my faith.
Two reasons why these two girlfriends have to hear over and over my struggle with the WHY GOD?
Those two human conditions that I find myself neck-deep in either bring on their own storm or make the storm swirling a heck of a lot worse.
Take this trip.
Fear because of some up close and personal traumatic weather encounters does not change the trajectory or impact of the storm one single bit.
And trying to control my plans and path by consuming every bit of weather related information from each local and national source did nothing but spin me up. It didn’t actually control a single thing.
This is a tiny example, but fear and control often create unfortunate detours on the road we travel dividing the storms and the calm.
A loved one is in the throes of mental illness. Fear keeps you from sleeping as you toss and turn worried about each millisecond. Control pushes you to obsessively check social media or phone records for signs of life.
Layoffs are threatened at your company. Fear keeps you sick with worry. All your conversations with family and friends revolve around the what if and who if. Control keeps you either (a) working 24 hours a day in hopes of staving off a potential loss, or (b) writing and rewriting your resume and scanning every job website in your free time.
And on and on. The examples could go on for pages.
So how can we do it differently?
How do we travel the road between the storm and the clearing?
Perfect love drives out fear. (I John 4:18)
God is perfect and God is love and His perfect love will drive out fear. But you have to inhale His love every minute and exhale your fear or else it will catch you in the crosshairs every single time. The minute you let yourself go, the fear comes racing back. It knows how to hit you.
I will fight for you, you need only be still. (Exodus 14:14)
When we relinquish control to the One who knows best, He will fight the battle and chart the course. This is no different from fear though. You have to inhale His wisdom and perfect will and exhale your desire to micromanage every step and detour. Every single minute. Or your craving for control will put you back in the driver’s seat veering off course.
He knows how to navigate the road between.