A few days ago, I had to take a short journey about ten miles from my house to do a cleaning project for someone. It was a blustery, end of October day, with occasional snow showers that just seemed to make things seem even more bleak than it was.
As I pulled into the long, gravel driveway, I took note of how stark the countryside was. This is in the middle of the Minnesota prairie. With the exception of a few trees to the north of the house which gave a windbreak of sorts, there was nothing as far as the eye could see. No buildings, no trees, just endless miles of farm fields.
I felt so alone in that windswept place.
For many of us, our lives can be just like this. You go along, living out your days like a summer afternoon when all of a sudden, from out of nowhere comes a vast emptiness that just seems to swallow you up whole. You can visualize the sound of the wind as it sweeps and pounds against the windows of your soul. There is nothing around you for miles. You feel so alone. Not even prayer seems to be of any help in all of this.
Lately I have made decisions, then broken them and made some more, all to relieve the discomfort of my soul. I have prayed to God for direction. I have taken what I thought was a for sure path, only to realize that I was at a dead end. Time to turn around and take a different course. After awhile, I began to doubt even myself. Where am I? I miss where I've been, yet I wouldn't go back there, not for anything. I have zero clue what's ahead, so I am reluctant to make a commitment to that as well.
I am sure that for Jesus and his parents, Mary and Joseph, it was the same. They were exiles in their own land after Jesus' birth, due to King Herod's jealousy of the news of a "new King." For two years, they wandered in unknown lands. All they had to rely on was God's direction.
God's direction. When all we have is that and Faith, I know it sounds confusing...how does one know they are doing the "right thing" if all they have to go on is a "feeling" or a thought to "go here!" or "stop and pause awhile there!"
Maybe a few comments from those who have "been there" will help:
"What I learn in over 60 years is that: (1) women are driven by emotions (just us and is wrong); (2) life is full of tests, and when you fail one you will get a harder one...so on and so forth, until you do it right; (3) never run away from something or take short cuts - it will come back to haunt you; (4) there are "stages" in life, and everyone is different - as you age understand much better than before; (5) NEVER give up on your goals, dreams; (6) whomever in not in the same page with you is not worth it or not for you - and - here comes the # 1 "emotions" that we hardly can or want to control...this is when we go in a different direction. My opinion and honestly, what me and my husband did from the beginning." ~Rodica Z.
"In life, you will realize that there is a role for everyone to meet...some times, will test you and sometimes will love you and test you...but no matter how sad and no matter what happens..the important are the ones who are truly brings out the best in you...they are rare and amazing people who remind you why it's worth it..." ~Elena P.
"I honestly don't think I would have appreciated the greater things in my life, had I not walked through the valley of the shadow of death, but I fear no evil, for my Lord is with always and encircles me with his love !" ~Barbara C.
I like Barbara's comment the best: walking through the valley of the shadow...it doesn't have to be as dire as death, just the shadow alone can be monumental in itself! But if we keep God on our side, like the sun, he will keep us warm, He will guide us to verdant pastures where once more we will see just where we've been as well as where we are headed.
"No doubt. And at times a dire situation can rocket us toward an even unimagined better place!" ~Kelly R.
GPS...God's Positioning System...putting us where we need to be, even when we can't understand it ourselves!