The Unexpected Road

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  2 Cor 4:18 

A friend of mine just had her heart broken.  She thought she could see the road ahead of her, and it was a lovely road.  It was the kind of road you just know God would lay out for His beloved – smooth and wide and garlanded with fragrant wild roses.  But when she reached the top of a small rise, she found that her own road dropped sharply away and turned into a dark wood.  The road she had been viewing in the distance was meant for someone else.

The Jewish nation at the time of Christ was also certain of their destiny.  For many hundreds of years they had lived in subjection to one foreign power or another, longing for the autonomy God had promised them.  Prophecy foretold a king from the ancient line of David who would come and free the people, to rule the earth with an iron scepter (Ps. 2:9).  The people dreamed good dreams about this warrior king.  From time to time someone would claim to be that king, and the people would try to make it so, but the rebellion always failed.  Then when He really came, nestled in the straw of an animal’s feeding trough, everyone missed it.  No one wanted that kind of king.  No one wanted to go down that road.

God doesn’t want us to trust Him because we can see how the plan unfolds.  That’s trusting the plan, not the Person.  God wants us to trust Him when we cannot see the road ahead, and He also wants us to trust Him when we don’t like what we see.  Faith is not just for the moments when we agree with God.  In fact, it is mostly for the moments when we don’t.

We want good things.  Things like a college education; success in our careers; the love of a good man or woman; happy, believing children; a nice home; loyal friendships; a long, healthy life; presents under the tree.  The Bible confirms that some of these, at least, are good things.  However, God wants something else for us entirely.  He wants us to be conformed – molded, sculpted, shaped – into the image of His perfect Son.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers (Rom 8:29).  Think about it.  Our highest good is to be most like Jesus, and He didn’t have any of those “good things” we want for ourselves.

It stands to reason that God’s plan is going to take some strange turns.  The ground might drop away from us.  We could be asked to walk into the darkness.  Just when it looks as though we are going to reach our intended goal, God may reveal that it wasn’t His goal at all.  We might even get our hearts broken.  God doesn’t want us to trust Him because we like the road ahead. He wants us to trust Him when we have no idea where He is leading us.

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