Spiritual Road Trip: Replacing Tension with Momentum
Are we there yet? The infamous phrase repeated countless times by kids from the back seat going on long road trips. Dad’s driving, there’s a cooler full of sandwiches, a funky array of suitcases and socks and the promise of a fun family vacation. But as the hours go by, the excitement dissipates and despair takes over while you’re looking at all the same scenery over and over…and over. After all, you can only play those car trip games and sing the songs so many times.
Have you felt this way in your walk with God?
When you’re waiting on God to fulfill promises in your life, your road might be difficult, challenging, or just long. I ask God the “are we there yet” question more often than I’d like to admit (and in all honesty, sometimes I am sort of whiny when I ask it). If you’re honest, you do too.
God, why is my process taking so long? God, why do your promises seem lightyears away? God, when will you deliver me? Will I ever get to my promised land? Exactly how much longer? Can we move faster? Please show me when? Are we there yet?!
We can all agree that we get excited about God’s promises, but it’s just plain tedious to wait on them sometimes. There is real tension and uncertainty in the middle ground of waiting. Welcome to your spiritual road trip. God’s driving and you’re the kid with the cooler of sandwiches in the back seat getting more impatient with each passing hour.
Here’s what you can start doing today to exchange your tension for momentum and get the best out of the season you find yourself in while you wait.
Memorize, Eat, Sleep and Breathe God’s Promises
Long journeys require frequent infusions of hope. Without hope, you might be tempted to bail out when the wait is too long. Hope comes from knowing God’s promises. I mean knowing them deep down in your knower. When God’s promises are really part of your heart, you know that you know that you know.
If you expect to be sustained by general thoughts of self-help, you’ll find they are not enough. You need God’s specific promises to get down deep inside you where they can pull your eyes forward to trust that God is going to come through for you- instead of the difficulty. Here’s a few examples:
-Waiting on God for a child: know the promise that God gave (and fulfilled) an elderly woman regarding this very desire “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:36-37)
-Waiting for your life’s purpose to be fulfilled: remind yourself daily that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6).
-Waiting for your work to bear fruit: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
-Waiting on God’s provision for an area of need: “ And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)
Even Jesus needed to remember the joy set before Him so He could endure the cross (Hebrews 12:2). If Jesus needed to focus on the promises, so do you and I. Far from platitudes, God’s promises are realities we can depend on. They are an anchor for the soul. (Hebrews 6:19) They have power to replace lies you may be tempted to believe; they will focus and relieve your mind when you need it most; they will quench anxiety. They will break the tension of the waiting.
Let God’s promises be the filter by which you process life and your experiences.
Memorize, eat, sleep and breathe the promises of God.
Participate In What God is Doing Now While You Wait
Fact: God is always doing valuable things in your life. Even if you aren’t yet where you want to be, don’t be so anxious that you miss the really good stuff God is doing right now. I promise you if you take a look at your life, there are amazing things taking place inside and around you, as God works things together for your good. (Romans 8:28) So don’t miss out.
Do yourself a favor and be an active participant rather than a passive bystander.
Two years ago I went through a personal tragedy and went to live with some amazing friends. I lived in the upstairs portion of their home. Their house was full of the presence of God: full of love, peace, joy and healing.
God knew this was exactly what I needed and it was there the whole time. But I was the one who had to make the choice to come out of my room, go downstairs and participate in order to receive.
I waited for 431 days and prayed every day for God to make a way for me in life and provide a new home for me. Even though this was a “waiting season,” it was a healing season that I will always treasure.
I was so surprised by all the gifts that came from God. He gave me what I needed, that it never even occurred to me to ask for. My dear friends loved me, counseled me, helped me heal, and taught me through their example. I gained new perspective about making the best of tough situations, loving others and relaxing and enjoying simple pleasures.
Last summer God answered and miraculously gave me a new home, and it is an amazing blessing. But I would never trade my days of waiting, because during that time God was repairing and preparing me. I learned that embracing God’s process is just as important as obtaining His promises.
I don’t know what your 431 days looks like, friend, but I do know God is calling you to join Him in all the incredible work He is doing. Right now.
Refusing to be part of the preparation would be missing out on the good stuff.
The road trip you’re on is the exact preparation you need. Road trips give us time to think. Time to laugh a little. Time to get excited about where we’re headed. So, embrace all that God is doing in this season and be an active participant.
Be An Incredible Steward of What’s In Your Hands Right Now
Ask yourself this question: what does God ask of me today that I can act on? Scripture says to never despise small beginnings (Zechariah 4:10) and encourages us to be faithful in little so we can be entrusted with much (Matthew 25:21).
There’s a difference between desire and readiness, and only God knows when you’ll be ready. But today, you can rejoice that God has given you something to do.
Your something may not be the bigger thing you’re hoping for, but it is important and God is paying attention to your stewardship of what He’s given you for this season.
Your faithfulness matters to God, even if nobody else sees it. God sees it which is all that matters.
In Exodus 23:27-30, God promised to drive out enemy nations so Israel could take their promised land- but He intentionally says He’ll do it “little by little.” In other words, you have to wait, trust and be patient, and there is no rushing the process. If it wasn’t for the wait, the land would have been dangerously overrun with wild animals and Israel would not even have had the capacity to possess the land.
God knows how much stretching and growing you need to do, through your daily faithfulness, so that your capacity increases and you can handle the blessing when it comes.
You aren’t ready yet AND the promise itself isn’t ready yet. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’ll never get there. It does mean that God’s perfect timing is keeping you where you are for today because it is the best place for you to be. He is at work, little by little.
What has God placed in your hands today?
Remember that God honors those who honor Him (1 Samuel 2:30).
Little by little, hour by hour, keep doing your very best for God. Faithfulness with what’s in front of you today equals steady progress and He is using each day to prepare both you and your promise.
Final Encouragement For the Spiritual Road Trip
Charles Spurgeon said, “Remember this: had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.”
God has not checked out, forgotten you, nor is He ever passive about your situation (Isaiah 49:15-16. Remember, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) Truth reminds us that God had our back way before we cried out for help.
So don’t give up or turn around; stay the course, take a deep breath, have another cooler sandwich and trust God that He will get you there on time. Get the promises of God deep down in your knower, participate in what He’s doing right now, and be a rockstar steward of your current assignment. The tension of waiting will be replaced with joy and momentum. And one day soon you’ll be thankful for every mile of the journey as you look back and see God’s hand.