Monday, February 25, 2008

This past weekend, Deanna and I headed to southwest missouri to a small church in the foothills of the Ozarks. It was a beautiful setting. I spoke at a church in Golden (not even on most maps).

The skies were grey and a bit gloomy, on the way there. As we came over a rise and headed down a hill, I could see below that everything suddenly seemed to disappear. It was very odd. It appeared that there was suddenly fog at the base of this hill. I scanned the horizon for a lake or some reason for the fog. I could find none.

I watched as car after car headed into it and seemed to disappear. It was very unsettling! I drew Deanna's attention to it. As we drew near, I could see that it was not fog, but smoke. Heavy, thick, billowing smoke. There was so much of it that it was impossible to see the source.

My senses were suddenly heightened. I remembered seeing signs on the highways here in Oklahoma that I haven't seen in other states. They read "Don't drive into smoke."

The problem was, I was on a highway with cars before and behind cruising at 65 mph or more. I became consumed with what I was driving into. I slowed up, oblivious to anyone behind me.

Suddenly as I reached the low point of the hill, I was side by side with a car completely engulfed in flames. It was a raging inferno. I feared explosion and pressed hard on the accelerator.

I noticed a couple of things. First, there was no one standing at the edge of the road as if they were wathcing their car go up in flames. Where was the driver?

Next, I saw a man standing by his truck, just past the burning vehicle. His body language declared annoyance with oncoming traffic as he was waving his arms violently, trying to speed everyone past the blackened mass of metal.

The problem was, he stood in a spot that noone could see until they were upon the vehicle. He didn't seem to realize that he was hidden from everyone's view by the smoke. All drivers were forced to slow down as none could see where they were going. It was obvious that he believed people were intentionally "rubbernecking."

We each experience times in our lives when we cannot see things clearly. When the whole of life seems consumed by confusion and we experience lack of direction. We would give much in those moments to have someone nearby, telling us what our next move needed to be.

How often do we speed headlong into circumstances that are clearly dangerous, without a plan? I drove into this smoke as if I had no choice. I did. I could have pulled over to the side of the road. I could have taken the exit this burning car sat just beyond. I had options other than heading into danger.

In the heat of the moment, I did not weigh options, I went with the flow.

This is where most of us fail. We get so focused on what is ahead that we fail to see warning signs and our curiousity compels us forward, though we do not know what is coming. Sometimes those around us seek to offer caution, but due to their own issues, they fail to realize their warning is being offered from an obscured disposition.

We serve a God who is never confused. He does not desire that we be, either. He has provided us the benefit of His Holy Spirit. His Spirit brings us direction from positions of clarity. He does not stand in obscure locations, undetectable, until it is too late.

However, we seem to be masters of missing the obvious. Too often we are motivated by our own curiosity, and walk in blissful ignorance, when clear direction is available.

Many of us do not discern direction easily. This is not because it isn't being provided, but because we are not walking closely with Him. Now I realize that there are times when God is silent in our lives. Even in His silence, we find direction. Often, it is reason enough for caution or waiting, rather than forging ahead because we want to, or because it seems right in the moment.

I truly believe we each need to spend more time courting our relationship with our Savior. Along with that comes a mind receptive to His teaching and leading. The closer we walk with Him, the more readily we can discern His voice and His direction.

We just have to get out of the fast lane, and not be afraid to pull off the road when things ahead appear to be unclear.

Slow down. Heed the warning signs. Disengage from the world for a few moments and allow Him to direct your path!



At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Brent... thanks for your posting (this is Bryan from Lindsay- i couldn't get the sign in thing to cooperate-- i'm sure it's me))that is a great word for us all... especially on Mondays. so many times, i get in a hurry and i miss God and what He wants to do in me and through me to His glory!
I know where Golden, MO is... been there many times for meetings and i believe it is one of the most beautiful areas around.

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