Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Just get me to the intersection already!

So the impossible is possible with God. (Luke 1:37 NLT)
Charles Swindoll once wrote, "We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations." Let's face it - there are times when we just cannot see the opportunity because the disguise is just too good! We might want to find some "silver lining" in what it is we are going through, but if the truth be told, we are having a tough time finding much of an "opportunity" in the circumstances. An opportunity is just an intersection. It is a place of choice - go one way or the other. Most would say the opportunity has to be "favorable" to be considered positive, but there are times when we don't see much favorable in what is right in front of us. The rest of the definition is that at that place of opportunity (the intersection), we stand a good chance of advancing or making progress. In God's hands, I think we stand a much better than "good chance".
Milton Berle always used to quip, "If opportunity isn't knocking, it is time to build a door!" Oh, how many times I have done just that! Somewhere between here and there, the journey was taking way too long for my liking and I just "built a door". I created the "intersection" because I didn't want to invest whatever it was going to take to actually get me to the one God had designed! Most of those self-built doors didn't yield the exact outcome I'd really hoped for, though. They fell short on many accounts - but mostly because they fell short of that intersection God prepared for me that would have yielded a far more rewarding bit of advancement or progress in my life that I so desperately needed!
We all experience those intersection moments. What we do as we approach them is as critical as what we do when we reach them. I have endured several months of painfully slow construction on the road leading to my home. They are supposedly widening the street so it can accommodate more traffic, but in the meantime, they have a four lane road taken down to two lanes and it is so interspersed with twists and turns this way and that, with detours where you might like to turn and closures where you normally find passage. Getting from one intersection to the other can be a long, long process. It takes me all I can do to not turn off like some do, heading through a neighborhood, twisting and turning their way around that mess of traffic, going way out of their way just to avoid the wait. Isn't it funny how many times in life we want to do as much as we can to actually avoid the wait?
I watched as some followed what they thought would get them to the other side of the slow and go traffic down that two lane mess. In time, do you know what I saw? They are now waiting in line with me! Why? That detour didn't get them where they wanted to be! They thought they'd "save time", but it actually just put them in another long line of traffic trying to merge back onto an already way too congested roadway! What we believe to be the opportunity may not always yield us the results, especially when we "make" the opportunity! Rather than resist the time it takes us to reach the intersection God has prepared, we need to be attentive to the journey. We might just see something we have missed before! Like the chickens pecking away in the yard of a neighborhood plant nursery, feasting gleefully on all manner of bugs, or the vine beginning to show signs of full bloom climbing across the fence of a house we almost always pass without noticing. 
On the way from here to there, we can make many a detour. We can see what some may call "opportunity", but which God just labels as "distractions". We can attempt to get there faster than we should, but in the end, every extra minute spent "detouring around" what seems to be an obstacle in our path may just end up putting us where we don't really want to be in the first place. Just sayin!