By: Kristen McNulty
This summer I was out at my aunts cottage and while I had a great time there, life and work were calling my name so it was time to pack up and head home.
After gathering my stuff in the cottage I went outside to move the car closer to the cottage so I wouldn't have to carry the heavy cooler so far. I started the engine and while it sounded differently, I didn't worry too much about it. That is, until I put the car in reverse and I noticed an ugly red little had appeared on my dashboard: the battery light. I called my brother and he had me put a voltage meter on my battery and sure enough, there wasn't a lot of charge left in it: the battery was dying. My only option was to leave the engine running with the car was parked and hope that eventually the battery would re-charge itself enough so I could make the hour trek back home. It was either that or face the real possibility of being stranded somewhere on the side of the road.
So my plans of making it home at a decent hour were thrown out the window and I had no choice but to stay put until the battery got what it needed for the journey.
I'll be honest with you, I was more than a little frustrated. I mean I had packed my bags, I had made my plans, I had even filled the car up the night before so I was prepared, but it didn't matter, I was being forced to stay put. And if it was just a one-time occurrence that might be one thing, but so many times I in my life I make plans, I prepare and I still end up getting stuck in place. Maybe you can relate.
You went to school and spent years of your life preparing for your chosen career, you graduate, go to one interview after another, but are still stuck in the realm of unemployment.
You have a passion for a ministry, you put in the time preparing, had everything in motion, but an illness strikes and suddenly you are sidelined and someone else takes your place.
There are many events in our lives where we can plan all we want, but due to reasons beyond our control, it all falls apart.
As I've thought this through I can't help but wonder if maybe you and I are thinking about these instances in the wrong way. Instead of getting frustrated because our plans fall through, maybe we should recognize that having to wait doesn't mean we're never going to get there or somewhere else. Maybe it just means that God knows we need a little more juice in our spiritual batteries before we are ready to hit the open road. After all, He knows that lies ahead and He knows exactly what we need to face it. James chapter 1, verses 2-4 teach us:
"Dear brothers and sisters, when trouble of any kind comes your way, consider it an opportunity for great growth. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be prefect and complete, needing nothing."
The next time your plans get derailed, you're stuck waiting or you encounter a roadblock, remember that nothing we ever encounter is a coincidence and God uses these instances to help us recharge our spiritual batteries. So instead of spending the time waiting complaining, do what you can to add some juice to your battery.
Maybe that means letting the engine run through reading your Bible or listening to sermons, maybe that means getting a boost from a Christian friend or mentor by spending time with them and learning from them, it doesn't matter how you charge it, what matters is that you're doing what it takes to fill it up.
And you know what, eventually my car battery charged up enough that it got me to where I needed to go. And eventually you also will be able to move forward in your life again. It might be to a different destination than you envisioned when starting out, but you'll learn that as long as God is guiding your journey, it doesn't matter. As Proverbs 16:9 points out, "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps."
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