Smart motorways used to make me think of the film ‘Independence Day’. You know, the bit when the aliens and the heroes are flying around and then suddenly, they lose control of their spaceships as the mothership brings them in. I like driving, and so I don’t really like being herded about this way.
It was one of those never-ending journeys from Brighton to the South West that changed my mind earlier this year. I was driving with two of my teenagers, when after a lengthy and much appreciated silence one of them (think ‘Kevin’) started complaining ‘what is the point of making us slow down and then speed up all the time?’.
Determined to raise young people positively inclined to follow the rules of the road, I left my Independence Day musings and heard myself explain ‘I know it feels that way darling, but it’s actually really clever; there are people watching the roads behind us and ahead of us. These people can see what we can’t see from this part on the road – accidents, debris, congestion, whatever – and they slow us down or manoeuvre us into lanes or onto new roads so that we avoid crashing into the back of accidents on the road ahead of us so that we can get to where we’re going in one piece.’ He probably wished that my answer had been a lot shorter, but a little grunt that almost sounded interested followed, so I considered the conversation a triumph.
Finding my way in the mission of God can feel a bit like a Brighton/South West road trip sometimes – minus the Wi-Fi deprived teenager.
I began my born-again journey not knowing which route to take but excited to hit the road and join in with God’s mission to make disciples. Occasionally I’ve been inspired and so certain of which way I was going and how I’d get there … but then God slows me down, reroutes me, closes one lane and opens another.
Sometimes He lets me see the reason for a lane change (debris on the road, or whatever), and sometimes He doesn’t.
Sometimes I get fed up with the journey, I pull into the services for a skinny cappuccino and a Dairy Milk and stop moving altogether for a while.
But the destination (the hope of lives saved) is compelling isn’t it? It’s like the ‘father-ship’ drawing me in to his mission, and I’m happy to go back on the road, revived by caffeine and chocolate, and knowing really, that wherever God has me today is exactly where I’m supposed to be.
We can trust that our God who sees the beginning from the end; the roads ahead and those behind, has good reasons to reroute us from time to time. No delay, road change, or even the occasional pit stop is a waste of time when you’re finding your way in God’s mission, it’s just part of the journey.
The important thing is that we’re on the journey, finding our way in God’s mission; helping others know Jesus.