New Roads Bring Mess…and God is okay with that
Several months ago our neighborhood had the privilege of getting our (perfectly excellent) streets re-paved because…they looked old? Actually, I’m still not sure why the pothole free roads needed repaving, but they did, and we did, and we’re all grateful!
If you know me at all, it should not come as a shock that I was the solitary person in our neighborhood (of 200+ homes) that was not stopped by the kind road construction folk before driving through the fresh tar, and then tracking it down the length of my driveway. Also, if you know me, you won’t be shocked by my frequent run-on sentences.
If you don’t know me, now you do. I’m that person.
As my sons admired the “train tracks” decorating our drive, I assessed the damage with, and received an apology from, the kind construction worker. He informed me that pressure washing would remove the tar. And this past weekend, I finally tackled the project because I’m a procrastinator!
(Now you know me even better! We’re practically BFFs!)
So, I spent many hours playing with, er….using a pressure washer! And in the middle of it all, God shared some things with me…
First, new roads always produce a mess! While the streets by our house were simply re-paved, our neighborhood is actually in the middle of a major road construction project. They are expanding a 2 lane road to 4 lanes to accommodate the hundreds of homes being built near us, and it is a mess! The amount of dirt, dust and destruction accompanying this new road is astounding!
I was reminded that God doesn’t promise that the path He is creating for you will be “mess-free”, in fact, sometimes it feels like the closer we get to Him the messier things get! It’s okay! Relax!
As long as each step you take is towards Him and His great commission, then you’re going the right direction.
Also, the expansion project happening on our road does not simply add on to current lanes, it actually involves cutting through the landscape to make travel more streamlined. Every day I drive by homes that have had their entire front yards and lots of their privacy taken away to accommodate the road that we all “need”.
Remember, the construction of your “road” might be ripping up someone else’s dream…tread lightly. God is a giver of GOOD things. He would never destroy someone else to make His plan for you happen, but the work He is doing in someone else’s life might be simultaneously painful for them and beneficial to you. Be grateful to those around you, and those who have gone before you, to “prepare the land”.
Now, onto life lessons learned while playing with a pressure washer!
If you’ve never used a pressure washer, like me, it takes a while to get the hang of how it works as well as how to use it effectively. My initial attempts to wash off the tar tracks didn’t produce the desired outcome because I wasn’t wielding the tool correctly. Accuracy and effectiveness came with time and experience (as with most things).
God reminded me how the most powerful tool we have as Christians, is His Word (aka the Bible), and this same rule applies to it! Accuracy and effectiveness when applying the Bible to our lives comes with long-term frequent practice and commitment.
Anyone that can read is capable of playing Bible bingo until they find a phrase or passage that encourages or validates their point-of-view. But, is this advisable? No, because often times, the person holding the opposite view can play the same game. In the end, it is only the person that spends time intently reading God’s word that will be able to wield this tool effectively in their lives.
Psalm 119:11,15-16 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you…..I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.” This is not a statement made on a whim, it is made with intention. This should be our standard.
Another lesson I learned is that even when the tar is gone, the stain remains. Now, God promises that we will be made spotless when we confess that Jesus is Lord of our lives and ask Him to wash away the sins that have marked us. But, it doesn’t say that the reminders of our past will be gone forever.
We all have track marks on our lives that we wish were gone, and we might have even scrubbed and scrubbed (read, confessed, and confessed) until we were sure they were invisible.
It is our “track marks” that set us apart from everyone else. The consequences of the choices we have made in our lives before knowing Jesus (and even after knowing Him) give our life story a unique quality that will be the reassurance for someone coming behind us bearing similar marks. Don’t hide them. Stop scrubbing them. Thank God that He removed the tar and be transparent about those marks in your life!
I don’t know about you, but I needed that lesson from God this past weekend. I was up to my ears, drowning in the demolition surrounding the new road that God is calling me to walk. Pause with me in these thoughts. Pursue the truth about what God is doing in your life, in the lives of others around you and me, and how He wants to use us in the middle of the mess!
Leaning into Him,