Where are we, anyway?

It’s a well-known fact among those who know me well, that if at all possible, I would rather ride than drive. In exchange for a spot in your car’s passenger seat I will happily deliver colorful commentary all the way to wherever we are going. One of my good friends who drives with me frequently calls me Miss Daisy (as in the movie Driving Miss Daisy). Even though I am neither elderly nor blind, she tells me she is still looking for the qualifying deduction box on her tax returns for driving services rendered.

My dislike for driving is rooted primarily in my absolute lack of directional ability. North, south, east and west mean nothing to me. You might as well be speaking in German. (Which, in case you were wondering, is one of the many languages in which I am not fluent.) I respond more to directional landmarks like, “Go down the windy road and up the hill past the pond on your right. When you see a big red barn, slow down and then take a sharp left at the one-armed scarecrow.” Curiously, you’d be amazed at how many one-armed scarecrows there are in this part of the country.

I’m not sure how I got left out of the directional loop in the gene pool. In regard to longitude and latitude, all of my siblings seem to have a firm grasp on where they are on the planet. I remember being in the middle of New York City with all three of them trying to figure out where we were. One sister was studying the map, my brother was scanning the street signs and my other sister was looking for moss on the trees to determine which direction North was. Seriously. She was looking for moss.

I kept quiet and tried to look interested.

I wonder if that attitude is shared by many people when it comes to their spirituality. The regular church-goers who attend Sunday service, sitting silently in the pews trying to appear interested. The ones who after the final worship song is sung leave wondering where in the world they are when it comes to Jesus.

I’m not pointing fingers. I’ve been that person. What does their/my witness say to the ones outside of the church who are carefully watching those Sunday worshippers and wondering what makes them/me different from everybody else in the world?

The only way I know how to let my witness be a worthy one is to step back and let Jesus take the lead. But that doesn’t mean I can stand quietly by, feigning interest. If I want to be an authentic believer I have to be in active pursuit of the people Jesus loves. The lost, the lonely, the hungry, the poor, the needy, the not-so-cleaned-up-and shiny people of this world. Those are the ones Jesus longs to bring to Him.

Look, I may not possess an internal compass to get me from place to place on this earth. And in all honesty, I am probably going to need to bum a ride to the next unfamiliar place I need to get to. But I surely have been given a far greater gift the any GPS could afford me. The gift of Jesus –  the eternal guide who will never leave me or forsake me. ‘Cause when I’m with Him, I always know where I am.

The Bothersome Blessings

I braved the snowy less-than-desirable driving conditions out to my rural school only to find out that classes had been cancelled for the day. At first I was annoyed that I had somehow been omitted from the staff list that receives automated school closing text alerts. However, after some consideration I realized that it was only a minor inconvenience and had I not spent the hour driving back and forth here are the things I would have missed:

1. Opportunity to help another. As I made my way home I spotted two fur-clad little girls on the corner waiting for the school bus. I rolled down my window to relay the news. “School’s cancelled for the day, girls, because of the snow!” They smiled and waved and called out a thank-you before turning to walk away. At least I’d saved them from a few more frozen moments on the curb.

2. Views of the extraordinary white-washed scenery in all of its snowy splendor. The brown earth and bare trees had become things of beauty when they were blanketed in snow. The images reminded me of how Jesus covers me with His love and grace. That even though I am stained and dead in my sin I become pure and white through the blood of the Lamb.

3. Time spent in prayer for the parent of one of my students. My drive time is always a great opportunity for conversation with the Father. This morning I had asked Him to give special attention to one of the moms in my room. Her child had recently come to church at my invitation. She wanted to know if she could send his sisters on the van that had come to pick him up on Sunday. I assured her they could and then went on to invite her to come, too. She had looked away quickly without an answer, but not before I had seen her expression. It was one that had said, “I’m not worthy. You don’t know what I have done.” My heart went out to her and I wanted to say, “He loves you anyway.” So this morning I lifted her up to the throne and asked God to whisper His gentle love to her heart.

Suddenly, the trip that had seemed to be a bother, had become a blessing. Simply by changing the lens in which I viewed the situation made all the difference. Thank-you, Lord, for loving me so much that You continue call to me in all the bothersome, blessed places of my life.