“Hop In The Backseat Lord, I Am In A Hurry!” By: Kelli Zaniel
In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of life, where do you put God? Do you tuck Him away only to request His rare appearance when things are not going YOUR way? Does God play the starring role in your life or is He walking behind the scenes? Have you thought to yourself, “Not now God, I just have to fold this never ending mountain of laundry or finish up this reading lesson with my Kindergartener.” Have you abruptly shoved your quiet time to the side and said, “God, I will spend time with you when my schedule is not so hectic?” Is God in the backseat of your life or is He in the driver’s seat?
The world is in such a hurry today. People are swirling through crowded malls, dashing through drive-through windows, and sprinting back home again only to realize that do not remember a thing about their day. We live in a society where, “pop in,” and “drop by,” grace our everyday conversations. Every time I check my email there are advertisements that read, “hurry this is your last chance,” or “if you act fast, you can buy one get three free,” or, this is my favorite,… “What happened? We haven’t heard from you in a while and we are going to cancel you from our mailing list… act now, buy something quick or you will miss it!” It reminds me of that Staples commercial where the folks in the office, who never seem like they are even working, are forever pushing that “easy button.” When the button is pushed, office supplies pour down from the heavens! The people in the commercial get their needs met in an instant and then go on about their day. The world operates on this “easy button,” idea. We want to skip over the hard parts of life only to receive instant gratification without having to lift a finger. People have become so busy and distracted by THEIR thoughts, THEIR wants and THEIR desires, that they have hurried right through life and have failed to unwrap the greatest gift ever given… the amazing love of Jesus.
Do not get me wrong, having an “easy button,” would be quite convenient and I am sure I would have pushed it more than once. However, would we ever grow spiritually or become closer in our personal relationship with God if difficult circumstances were absent in our lives? I don’t think we would pull up to the drive through window and request a big juicy piece of hardship with a side of overwhelming circumstances! But, if you were to look back over your life, you would probably discover that the times you matured the most spiritually were often the most difficult. God uses these challenging and uncomfortable places to stretch and grow our faith, character and patience. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all,” (1 Corinthians 4:17).
Samantha Hope, my 4 year old, was making her first attempt to walk the balance beam in her gymnastics class. As she began her descent down the beam, her sweaty little feet could not quite find their place. She briefly turned her head, looking for the location of her teacher. When she spotted the teacher looking the other way, Samantha hopped down and decided to move onto the next exercise. Isn’t that what we like to do in our own lives? Wouldn’t we just love to skip over the obstacles standing in our paths and proceed down the highway of life only to experience the “good and easy parts?” Sometimes, God has us traveling down paths that we didn’t plan on going. His route sometimes appears to be, “out of the way and inconvenient.” However, we must recognize His voice, listen and do exactly as He instructs. Jesus is right there to catch us and can comfort us in a way only He can… because He truly knows what REAL suffering is like. Jesus experienced this suffering so that we would not have to.
The next time around, Samantha looked for her teacher and listened to her instruction as she successfully completed her walk down the beam. I could see the accomplishment and light in her face as she took her last step to the edge of the beam. This is what God wants to do for us. He desires to walk right there beside us, holding our hand and putting his arms around us so that we will not fall. “I will lead them by the way they have not known; along unfamiliar paths I will guide them. I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do. I will not forsake them,” (Isaiah 42:16). Isn’t it nice to know, our heavenly Father will smooth out lifes rough edges and make our paths straight!
We have to make the decision to experience God in spite of our circumstances. We may want to change our circumstances, but sometimes, “God wants to use our circumstances to change us.” We have to put God in the driver’s seat and allow Him to lead us through the world’s uncertain paths. Lord, help me to ease up on the gas and slow down throughout my day so that I won’t miss your sweet blessings tucked away and hidden behind the dirty laundry, “stacked up,” dishes and unmade beds. Everyday, we should have a burning desire in our hearts to be still, look for Him, listen for Him and acknowledge Him. I know that being in uncomfortable places is where I will grow in you and you in me! Help me to rely on your strength and not my own. If I live my life by the world’s “easy button,” standards, I will miss out on beautiful opportunities to look through your eyes and find perspective beyond my own.