I have a cousin four days older than I. When the two of us were adventuring through our pregnancies and announcing the arrival of our babes, I looked forward to hearing what she would name her children because her theme was her favorite seasons of the year. When she and her husband decided to stop after their two daughters were born, her husband made the announcement. With their youngest daughter’s birth announcement, he announced her arrival and the important information, and then he promptly stated there would be no more children. So, they wouldn’t need to use the most popular season in a Minnesota year: ROAD CONSTRUCTION.
I’d found this witty at the time, and every summer as the orange cones are laid out on main roads throughout the state, I remember this line and chuckle. The other day, however, I was not thinking about road construction with a chuckle. I live in a small town with a highway running through it. At one point this highway connects with the start of another highway then continues off in a ninety degree turn. This year our city decided to change this highway interchange into a large round-a-bout. The worst part about this huge change has been the road construction thus far. I have also gotten a glimpse into how confused the elderly drivers of our community are already finding this change. Let’s be honest, it’s just as bad for us younger-than-them folks, and I don’t like it. Lord, help us all. We are all having trouble figuring out where to go with the traffic lights and cones, how well are we going to comprehend what to do once the traffic cones are put away?
The day I became more than a little put out, was when the coordinators of road construction season decided to repave the entire length of highway as it goes through our city the same time this other crew has everything else in disarray to lay the concrete and such for this round-a-bout. I wanted out of the chaos, but they had every lick of road churned up, and I had no choice but to be a part of the crazy antfarm-like construction situation. The orange cones were getting bossy and blurring my vision!
I wanted to scream out the window of my minivan, “Don’t you know it is VBS season?! I am so up to my elbows in paper mache, paint, and paper pushing right now that my whole life is dictated by the scheduler app on my phone! I did not have your construction in my planner! I did not have my very good friend, whom I loved very much, being killed by a train in my planner! And I didn’t have these months of driving back and forth to the vet’s office for my furry little one with a broken tail in my planner. Why can’t you all just leave me alone?! Why can’t we go back to the ways things were on paper when I first began planning out the VBS season?!”
Life doesn’t work this way, does it? I am not in control, first of all. And I cannot wake up in the morning and just pray on the Armor of God (Ephesians 6) without actively connecting with each piece of the armor. Even then, life is still going to throw all of these little extra obstacles into the blur of every day…no matter what the season is. Jesus isn’t standing outside me just pointing out potholes and shouting directions like the construction workers were that day. Christ lives in me. He is either going to remove the obstacles in my way, drive me around them, or bring me through them. He is not a passive God. SO, why should I be a passive Christian?
Listen, the real enemy that day wasn’t the city planners, the construction workers just trying to do their job, the people calling me to tell me my friend was the one who’d been killed in that accident, or the plethera of other obstacles dinging up my vehicle of life. I have to keep in mind who the true enemy is all the time – he is not of flesh and blood, he is Satan and the demons who do his bidding. They play in the mind and toss me around when I am feeling unsteady.
Summer is hectic for me, and there has been a lot of little extras to deal with this summer. As Paul gave to the Colossians, I now give to you for your day:
Let the peace of Christ, the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him, be the controlling factor in your hearts, deciding and settling questions that arise. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body of believers. And be thankful to God always. Let the spoken word of Christ have its home within you, dwelling in your heart and mind – permeating every aspect of your being as you teach spiritual things, and admonish and train one another with all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (adapted from Colossians 3:15-16)
Lord God, may we all know the inner calm of one who walks daily with You. May we let it be the controlling factor of our hearts that decides and settles questions that arise. I pray your word is etched into every fiber of our beings and permeats everything we say and do. Please help us to rely on this with confidence. Thank You for your faithful presence, peace, and power. To You be all glory and honor and power forever and ever. Amen.