Sunday, December 28, 2008

Navigating in the Midst of the Storm

I know that Jesus like to teach in parables, so it especially catches my attention, when, in the midst of my life, I feel I am shown a parallel meaning to what I am experiencing.

Saturday night, after a long, long day of work, and then dinner with a dear friend, I am driving home.I get off the interstate and turn onto the state road that leads to my home. The road is pretty winding, with almost no shoulder. As I had turned off of the interstate, it had begun to rain. Now, there was a frank downpour.

I've been driving for a while now, so it's pretty instinctive for me to slow down a bit, turn on my windshield wipers, and continue on my way. But tonight was a little different. I realized I couldn't see the road.

It wasn't that the rain was hitting my windshield too fast, and my wipers weren't moving fast enough. And it wasn't that I was driving too fast for the road. It was that the rain was falling so hard and so fast, that I couldn't see the yellow and white lines for the blur of the falling and splashing rain. The road that I had traveled a thousand times, and knew nearly instinctively seemed to have disappeared.

So... I did the only thing I knew to do. I slowed down some more, and I prayed: "Lord, Guide me. Keep me on the road. Keep me safe." as I scanned the road for the church - and it's parking lot - that I knew lay ahead. In those few minutes, I'd occasionally be given a glimpse of the yellow dividing line, or the white road edge markings.

There was no pulling over. There was no stopping. And then there were lights ahead of me. Headlights. "Lord, guide those that I will pass. Keep us both safe. Protect us".

That's when the realization hit me. THIS is a parable I am living. This stretch of road. This storm. "Uhm, God. Could You hold that thought for JUST a minute... I need to focus on this oncoming car". It was in it's lane and I was in mine - it was going faster than I thought it should, and I'm sure I was going slower than they thought I should. Then, we passed safely. "Thank You". My ultimate prayer. "Thank You". I can never say that one enough....

As quickly as it came, the storm died out. The road was clear - a few sprinkles here and there - but the monsoon I had just driven through had passed. And there was the church - and it's parking lot.

I've now had some time to ponder the realization. Life brings storms - that can pop up quickly, and in very familiar territory. Yet, when they do, the well traveled roads become unrecognizable. The usual drive can be treacherous.

May I remember to slow down, ask for guidance and protection, continue as He leads and know that shelter is not far ahead.

And, always, always, as I make it through may I remember to say "thank You" with all my heart.

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