Chicagoland is a twisted network of freeways, tollways and backstreets. There is literally a myriad of routes to choose from when going somewhere in this city and it's surrounding suburbs. I, personally choose to stay off of the freeways & tollways. I don't like weaving through busy traffic, avoiding big rigs & slower cars, all the while trying to stay out of the way of the impatient, speeding commuters. I can do it, but I am usually a bundle of nerves before, during and after. I also don't mind saving a few bucks, tolls add up quickly.
While I am usually good at finding my way around, I have unlocked the potential of Siri and the maps on my phone when navigating this crazy area. I can plan what kind of roads I want to use, see my different options & then proceed with the route that best suits me. Occasionally Siri changes things up and my well planned directions are turned upside down & sideways; leaving me a little frazzled.
Such was the case a few weeks ago when I was headed to the airport to pick up a friend. With our recent move, I had not yet driven this route and was relying heavily on my directions. Suddenly & quite unexpectedly, I was merging onto one of the tollways. Wait, how did I get here?
"Siri!!! We took a wrong turn somewhere!!" "Where are we?!"
Admittedly, I was a little (maybe a lot) anxious and needed to take a few deep breaths. In the end we made it safely to the airport & back without a problem. Of course, Siri took me home a totally different way. I really think she is trying to give me a heart attack.
But haven't we all felt that way about life at some point in our journey?
"Wait, how did we get here?"
"God, we took a wrong turn somewhere."
In chapters 4-6 of the book of Mark, we find Jesus and His disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee, not once, but twice. Each time, Jesus had wrapped up a time of ministry and then directed the Disciples to cross over. In the first crossing we see that Jesus is with them but sleeping. In the second crossing, He remains on the shore to take time to pray and then sets out on His own, walking across the sea.
While Jesus' course of action is a little different each time, we find the setting & the Disciples reaction to the event to be the same. In both instances it is early in the morning and a storm arises. In both occurrences the Disciples respond in fear. Here's what else is the same; Jesus gave them a directive & a destination. He didn't tell them about the in between. I assume, being the seasoned fishermen that they were, they knew storms would arise on the sea. But it didn't change their reaction.
Much like the Disciples, we have been given a directive & a destination without details for the in between. Even as seasoned believers, we can be surprised by a storm & react in fear, anger or any other emotion that suits the situation. The direction our lives take may not be what we mapped out, but we can navigate it with the words and encouragement provided by Jesus in these passages.
First of all we see that in both situations, Jesus was there with the Disciples. He was visibly in their presence the first time and the second time He was there even if they couldn't see Him. When He saw their peril, He made Himself known at just the right moment.
Jesus is always with us. He may not always be easily seen. But we can bank on His promises to show Himself exactly when we need it.
Secondly, He tells them to not be afraid. But what I love is that in Mark 6:50, before Jesus even says, "Do not fear," He tells them to "be of good cheer" Or in some translations, "Take heart."
We tend to choose to be of good cheer when circumstances are...well, good. When we can see God moving & working, then we choose to have faith & take heart. But Jesus is saying that it works the other way around. Have faith & a good attitude first and then you will see Me.
And finally, we see that both times they reach their destination. Jesus was faithful to deliver them to the shore.
Our final destination is heaven with Jesus. He will be faithful to deliver us to that day.
I never dreamed that I would travel the United States, meeting so many people and serving in the different areas that God has lead us. I didn't plan to endure failing ministries, broken friendships, numerous changes and financial hardship. I have been blessed to pray with the hurting & see God bring healing. I have watched God provide for needs and work out details for His glory. I have hit the bottom of the barrel and I have soared to the heights with hope. I have followed Jesus full of faith and I have cried out in fear, even wrestled in anger. It's all part of the "in between time".
Siri and I may get lost in the city, but as long as she is working, I know I will find my way home.
I know the "in between" can be difficult, but I know Who started my journey and Who is going to be faithful to complete it.
Be confident of this, He who began a good work in you,
will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.