Some of the hardest things I’ve ever been through have taught me the most about life. I wanted to give up, but if I had I would have never reached the places I am at now.
One of the notable things about living in Birmingham is the scenic mountain ridges that make up the landscape, but apparently it can also be a dangerous thing about living here too. I left my house like usual this week and headed for work. I was about fifteen minutes into the ride when I hit some crazy traffic. Working near the mall, this normally doesn’t surprise me, but this was bad especially for midday on a Monday.
Flashing arrows and orange detour signs loomed in the road ahead of me and it seemed pretty clear that I would not be taking my usual route to work. I veered to the right and joined the angry single file line of cars that had been interrupted by this nuisance as well. I made it to work on time fortunately having for the first time in ages left a little early, but I still admittedly was a little ticked off about the city deciding to close the road down during the middle of the day.
I got to work and joked about the incident with my supervisor. She nodded and said, “Yeah I heard there was like a rock slide or something.”
I starred in blank confusion. A what? I mean I don’t exactly live in the Rocky Mountains. What do you define as a rock slide on a busy highway in Alabama? Turns out, it is when a huge piece of rock breaks away and slides down the land towards the busy road. I saw a piece of the mighty rock the next day and it awed me that I never thought something like that could happen around here.
That phrase echoed in my soul and I knew God was speaking to me. I had been blindsided by a number of unexpected rock slides over the past few years that had caused some detours in my heart. But God was showing me there are other ways to get where you are going. While a detour may be an inconvenience, it can also be a lesson. Too many people give up before they ever make it over the threshold of opportunity. Some of the hardest things I’ve ever been through have taught me the most about life. And it certainly wasn’t easy. There were some days I had to literally take it one step at a time and other days that it looked like nothing was ever going to happen. I had bad days. I wanted to give up, but if I had I would have never reached the places I am at now. It’s just a matter of sticking to the destination and not losing heart. Pebbles will come in life, but we hold the right tools. A rock slide isn’t cause for giving up, but rather trying harder.
I say all that as an encouragement to keep going, but I know some drivers are still stuck on the side of the road. Your detour ambushed you and you're afraid to switch from park to drive again. If you are anything like me, it takes time to take a detour and rewire your “GPS” to an alternate route. Your plans and the roads are not in sync. Your heart and mind are on different beats. It would be a whole lot easier if you didn’t have to deal with it all, but we do. Life happens, what next?
It’s heavy when rocks start falling on you Lord, I whispered.
I know My Child, I carry the boulder of the world on my shoulders.
There is something about putting your problems up against the rest of the whole entire world that puts them into perspective. Woe to me is just another detour in itself. I realized the rock slide was no longer about a physical piece of land, but about a terrain much more complex—the human heart. I knew the question. I paused and then dared to ask it.
What are you asking me to do in order to dig myself out from underneath the rocks?
God simply said one word.
Come as as you are and little by little we can step away from the rocks into something much greater. I will help you love. I will help you forgive. I will help you see beyond yourself and beyond the situation. Spend time with me and soon you’ll be on the right road again.
I know it’s hard. I do a lot of rock climbing up the hilly mountains of life myself. Sometimes it takes me so long to get to the top that nobody is there waiting when I do, except God who says never once did I doubt you. I was the one holding the rope.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” Psalm 46:1 promises, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Take Him at His word and be ready for the next avalanche that comes your way. Tune your GPS’s alternate route upwards.