Are We There Yet? by Michelle Jones

Driving is one of those seemingly ordinary activities that, upon closer scrutiny, reveals the true nature of the person engaged in it.  Genuinely sweet, docile individuals rarely speed up when they see you trying to change lanes in front of them.  Bitter, angry people feel entitled to their road rage.  Then there are the impatient souls, who weave in and out of traffic or tailgate until you get out of their way.

My personality surfaces most when I have to follow someone, especially if we’re going somewhere I’ve never been, or going by a way that is unfamiliar to me.  That’s when I am reminded that, despite my belief in the sovereignty and omnipotence of God, I have control issues.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matt. 7:7 NIV)

I loved this passage.  Every time I read it, or heard someone preach on it, I felt like I had hit the spiritual lottery.  I get whatever I ask for, find whatever I look for, and have doors swing open to me whenever I knock?  All I have to do is follow Jesus?  Follow?  Follow… Hm…

Okay, I admit it.  Asking me to follow you anywhere in my car will test the authenticity of your spiritual fruit, longsuffering in particular.  I don’t just want to know where we’re going.  I would like you to give me the directions ahead of time in case we get separated.  I want your cell phone number so I can check with you if I’m the least bit uncomfortable about the route you’re taking.  And now that I have my iPad, I will plug our destination into my navigation application so I can refer to it while I’m “following” you, to see if you really know where you’re going.  If you don’t, not a problem.  I can get us back on track.

This, I discovered, was not unlike my behavior as a follower of Christ.  I was not always comfortable with Him leading me.  You see, I didn’t get a map ahead of time, and the route He has me on is not only unfamiliar.  At times it seems we’re moving in the opposite direction from everything I asked for, sought, and expected behind the door.

Walking with God is great in the beginning.  When we’re embarking on our journey with Him, everything is sparkling with anticipation and imagination.  We have words like “grace,” “power,” “freedom,” and “blessed” burning a hole in our pockets.  We’re ready to pull them out and use them in our asking, seeking, and knocking.

A few years and maybe some tears later, we realize that we were so focused on finding, receiving, and getting access, that we didn’t consider pesky little things like the methods, means, and motives of God.

He loves us, but we were made for His pleasure, not the other way around. He would not withhold any good thing from us.  He will place desires in our hearts, but be clear.  He is the King of Kings, not Burger King.  You will have what you asked for, but that is no guarantee that you will have it your way.

Ask for patience.  You will be given an opportunity to wait.  You want strength?  You will be given something heavy to lift.   Seek peace. You will find it in a storm.   Knock on the door marked Grace.  You will be humbled so you can receive what’s behind it.

Why does it have to be so hard?  Why can’t He just wave a hand and poof! I have compassion?  Why does He allow me to be hurt over and over again?  Couldn’t He just give Adam a wife without making him lonely first?  Can’t I come forth as gold without walking through the fire?  Must we follow Him through the wilderness to get to the Promised Land?

The truth is, we cannot say we trust God without experiencing challenges to that trust.  Am I really following you if I have a map, a phone, and a navigation system?  If we are His sheep, and we know His voice, shouldn’t we expect to encounter imposters?  There is no glory in overcoming if we haven’t “come over” anything.

Following Him means relying on Him, not walking in the same direction while relying on my own equipment and understanding.  Following Him means HE is my map and my navigator.  He is the One who decides when or if we speed up, slow down, or take a detour.  Following Him means I am faithful, not just lacking in opportunities to be unfaithful.

Following means asking without demanding guarantees, seeking without checking the map first, knocking without requiring updates and status reports.  It means letting Him be point A, point B, and every point in between.  It means turning over the wheel and enjoying the ride.

Are you there yet?


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