“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”
– John Steinbeck
How many of us have ever wanted to go to a different place than our friends? We wanted to do something else, but they wanted to go a different way.
There are moments in life where we think we want to go a certain direction, but we end up on a different path. It is a path we are scared to journey, but we feel the Holy Spirit guiding. We keep look over our shoulder in the direction we wanted to go, but we end up missing where God is leading us.
Each of us has been there. In fact, we are all on that journey. We want one way, but the compass points the other. We would have never chosen to go down that path. It becomes a journey uncontrolled.
The Unwished Journey
The journey God gives us is usually the one we are most afraid of. In fact, it usually involves something we never wanted or wished for. It might be a circumstance, a struggle, a career change; whatever it is, God placed it in our life. We see the compass arrow point to that one thing. Our heads scream, “God, please, not that!”
Frodo, in The Lord of the Rings, experiences the same thought. The ring is a heavy burden causing destruction physically and mentally. It is something Frodo never wanted to possess or deal with. He never thought he would be on a perilous journey into the heart of evil. Yet, Gandalf speaks a truth which rings in our ears and challenges this thought – Watch Here
“So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
We agree with the sentiment, but our feet feel glued to the ground unready to act on it. We feel this is uncontrollable. So, we reject it.
However, God says something interesting in Psalm 139:1-16. No matter where we are or where we go, God’s path for our lives is already written. He knows we are afraid of this journey. He already ordained for that situation, that struggle, that experience, and whatever we dare not speak of out loud. We become like Jonah (Jonah 1-2). We run from God’s plan and purposes. We think we’ve escaped facing our fears, but God will redirect us. Our eyes may go to one path, but his compass points us in the direction he deems best.
What is it we fear on this God-given journey? Are we going to be like Jonah – rejecting and fleeing? Or are we going to be like Esther – embracing God’s path, facing our fears, and confidently step into the belief God has us on this path for such a time as this (Esther 4:14)?
The Different Journey
We may accept God’s journey for our life, but don’t we tend to feel ashamed of the secret parts of our story? We see how different our story is, how different our struggles are, and we fear the perceptions of others.
“What if…” pulls our eyes away from God’s path and we look at others. We then only shamefully speculate how different our is. God sees this fear. God chose this path specifically for you (Hebrews 12:1). He set the race before us. When we look at Hebrews 11, don’t we see a portrait gallery of weird perceptions. If we stopped romanticizing biblical stories, we will understand the gravity and absurdity of the journey God put Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, and the rest to travel. I’m sure being asked to kill your only son is quite a normal thing for someone who follows God.
Yet, we don’t like being different. We want to be fearfully and wonderfully made as long as it means we fit in. We secretly despise Psalm 139:14 if it means not fitting in as we want. Image is everything. Our image, our path, our life needs to fit an image man has made. Aren’t we called to be made into the image of God? Doesn’t that mean following the path God has called us to? Doesn’t that journey lead to becoming more like Christ (Romans 8:28-29)?
Stop rejecting what we define as different. God does not see it like that. He smiles at the wonderful story he is weaving specially for you.
The Journey in Perspective
Have you ever looked at the biography section at Barnes and Noble? We fawn over the pictures of many people and the lives told with powerful potency. The story unfolds as a familiar fairytale – Cinderella. Our souls are entranced by stories of rags to riches.
“My story will never be like that,” whispers the shadow which follows us. That shadow is stitched together by our guilt. He shames us with painful memories our fallings. It is like crime scene photos graphically portraying the crimes against God and others we have committed in cold blood. We feel unworthy to be even called by God for this journey.
Is it because we need to change perspective? One of the scenes in The Prince of Egypt beautifully boasts the need to change perspective when we feel unworthy – Watch Here
Is the reason we don’t have God’s perspective on our life is because we are too busy comparing ourselves in the church? Do we hide parts of story in order to escape the penetrating perceptions like daggers digging a deep wound of fear? God is not ashamed of you. He is transforming you. You can’t change yourself.
People will call out your sins, your struggles, and your past. But, God calls out the righteousness you have because of Jesus. Being righteous is not about the good deeds we do. It is being right before God which will transform us to be like Christ.
God is not done with you, so you haven’t seen that last of yourself. Our hearts can passionately sing out the words to “You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me.” From God’s perspective you will not fade out, and he does not count you out. Instead, he gives you a journey which we call uncontrolled in order to give each of us a story of grace forging us to stand tall in God’s hall of faith.
The Path Walked
We can agree God is actually in control of our lives. We truly believe God ordained the journey before us. We say, “Amen!” to Psalm 139 praising God for fearfully and wonderfully creating us. But, what about that one thing? Didn’t God put that in his story of you? We can amen and agree all we want with the truths of God’s Word, but where does agreement alone get you?
We must accept the journey we can’t control. We must pick up God’s compass, His Spirit through the Word, following the path wherever it goes.
Hebrews 12:1 was quoted earlier. The verse creates images of runners, races, and finish lines found on our journey. We also see the need to get rid of the sin that easily keeps weighed down. But, go back three words – the hinderances. The writer of Hebrews tells us to “lay aside every hinderance and the sin” which keeps us from running. Hinderances are not necessarily sins. It can be mindsets, beliefs, people, influences, or anything which keeps us from fully walking our God-given journey
We find ourselves not following God’s path, because we will not give up our hinderances. We do not want to get rid of the values and beliefs we have been taught even when we discover Scripture doesn’t fully line up with them. We refuse to let go of people whose opinions we follow more religiously than the Bible. We reject the thought of doing anything which would give us a low perception in our churches. This is even more deadly than the sins which hold us back.
Like Moses, we say, “But, God!” Then God reminds us who he is. He is the Creator and tell us to go as he leads. The temptation is to replace his Word and his view of us with the views and words of man. Always go back to Scripture to check if you are following God’s compass.
The journey walked means letting go. It means we proudly Burn The Ships tempting us to turn around and reattach ourselves to those hinderances. God has given us each our own path. He ordained each of us to have certain struggles, be made in certain ways, to have different views and opinions. That is part our journey. We may not have wished for it, we may think it is different, and we may fear the perceptions of others. But, whose opinion really matters?
The journey uncontrolled is actually very much in control. It appears to be uncontrolled because we compare ourselves with others and focus on how others perceive us. When we focus our vision back to God’s compass, we will see how he is in control of the journey. He was in control in the past, he is taking the lead on your path now, and he will be there at the end. He does not change unlike the perceptions of people.
Each step we take on our journey can only be done by faith and not sight (II Corinthians 5:7). We step in faith as we trust the compass. We walk in confidence knowing Jesus gives us the courage and strength to continue when it seems only the darkness of shame trips us and ridicules us. We can sing with David Psalm 27 as we set aside our hinderances and move forward. We can take that first step onto a journey we at first fear (not because of the lack our own will power), because we believe the promise God gives us as eloquently articulated by C.S. Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia:
“Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”