Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. – Hebrews 3:8 (NIV)
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – James 1:22 (NIV)
“Through traffic only,” read the sign for the exit ramp. Not wanting to take the detour and drive through New Castle, I flicked on my turn signal. I figured “through traffic” meant me, since my exit to I-376 was coming up. If I had to go through New Castle, I might miss it. I might even get lost. Then how would I get to the airport? (No, I don’t have a GPS.)
Ten minutes and several miles later, I got back on Route 422 the same place I got off. I grumbled all the way through New Castle. I didn’t trust that the detour would be marked well enough for dummies like me who are directionally challenged. Shucks, I could get lost in my hometown. I couldn’t afford to lose any more time. I didn’t want the friend I was picking up to be waiting.
Fortunately the detour was well marked. I got to the airport just as her plane was landing, so she didn’t have to wait. I found a parking space close to the terminal and ended up paying only a dollar for parking, since I was there less than an hour. All’s well that ends well, right?
You see, I really knew I should have taken the detour in the first place. I’d driven the same route two months earlier and knew there was road construction right where my turnoff to I-376 was. What was I thinking?
I wasn’t. I was being willful and trying to force my own way.
I can be that way with God, too. Rather than follow the way He leads me, I stubbornly go my own way. When I’m forced to take a detour—a way I hadn’t planned that will take more time than I want it to—I grumble and complain the entire time.
Once it took me a whole year before I obeyed what I knew what God was telling me. Oh, I had excuses—I said wanted to make sure it was God directing me and I wasn’t merely looking to follow my own desires. But I knew. Deep down I knew. It wasn’t a good year.
As soon as I got on the route I was supposed to be on, the wrestling match in my heart ceased and the tension in my mind evaporated. The next time it didn’t take a whole year before I obeyed.
God directs us, but we have a choice—to go our own way or His. His way is always best—even when it’s a well-marked detour for dummies like me.
I can be stubborn, Lord. Thank you for your patience as I learn to listen and obey. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Jonah 1:1-3