Are there certain things in daily life that really frustrate you? A wrong turn? Sitting in traffic? I am an on-the-go person, and these are the things that really push my buttons.
I had an appointment scheduled at the Cleveland Clinic. The journey takes me on the Ohio Turnpike to the Interstates of 480, 271, 77 then enduring the agonizingly slow speed of the busy streets with red lights that stretched endlessly for the final ten miles into the heart of the city.
We always pray for our travels, and today was no different. I lifted up my voice with, “Protect us as we travel; keep us safe in Thy tender loving care. Remove all danger, all obstacles, all interferences, all evil forces, anything that is not of You, for You, with You and in You.” After committing our way to the Lord, we took off, never imaging the invaluable lesson this simple hour and a half trip would hold.
The forecast had predicted 100 percent rain and I was grateful that as we started our drive the rain had tampered off to a drizzle. Deborah has been my constant traveling companion for the last thirteen years and we’ve grown into a team that can enjoy the silence together. This day the silence prevailed between us as I was in deep thought about my history with my neurologist and Deb was listening to hymns on the radio.
We exited the Turnpike and passed our favorite Cracker Barrel restaurant which was our ritual stopping place on our return home. I was already dreaming of dinner there. A few miles up the road we would connect on I-271. I could feel myself tensing up with the anticipated increase in the Cleveland city traffic. I remember seeing the sign which read I-77 twenty miles ahead and then one that showed ten miles ahead – that was the last I-77 sign I remember.
The reverie in the car was broken by Deborah frantically getting my attention.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Get off the next exit” she responded tersely. “We missed our turn.”
What? How could that have happened? “I’ll just turn around.” I responded.
“No, just get off the next exit,” Deborah insisted. Now Deb is the first to admit she is directionally challenged, but we were supposedly following our GPS for the whole trip. So how could we have missed a major interstate connection? Impossible!
As I was screaming to myself in my brain, God whispered to this deaf woman. All things are possible with Me….
Even while everything in me was screaming, NO, I do not want to take the city streets of bumper to bumper cars stopping at every red light on each block for the next 20 miles – no, Lord, not this…the Voice of my Shepherd whispered to me again, “Do you not say that I direct your steps, do you not believe that My plans are not to harm you?” Yes, this is one of my bigger lessons that He has been teaching me in the last couple of years… everything, every single thing that comes my way, every person I meet, every trial, disappointment, illness, affliction, blessing, my breath of life, comes from Him so that I might learn, become and grow into His likeness that I might prosper. Yes, He allowed me to miss our turn and once I accepted that, He smiled.
As we got off of 271 and turned onto Chagrin Blvd we rode the last nineteen miles without a single red light and almost no cars! We were in total amazement and awe as we traveled this uncharted path. We looked at each other and kept exclaiming, “How could we have missed this all these years?” The Lord had taken us down a peaceful street where huge old mansions lined the streets. Stately trees stretched their aged limbs out over our pathway. With a light fog settling in after the rain, it had a mystical and quieting effect. In the stillness of the moment, I saw a glimpse of heaven. It was almost like an out of body experience where I wanted to pinch myself to see if it was really happening!
God brought us to a fortress that day right in the busiest city of Ohio – was it by mistake? No, although through human error we missed our turn, that day through the Sovereign Grace of God, He gave us His best. It was His plan for us and His plans are always for our good and His glory.
Not having a clue where we were going but with the realization that He knows the way better that we do, we trusted His leading. With the high tech aid of our GPS which I now claim as “God Plans Sovereignly”, the day’s journey took us to green pastures beside still waters where our souls were refreshed and restored before entering the busy medical compound of Cleveland Clinic.
God reaffirmed a lesson that day that He has been teaching me recently. I experienced by sight what He has been teaching me by faith that every detail in life, no matter how small or insignificant it appears, needs to be given to Him with simple trust and a quiet rest in His plans. When I do this, then every situation I find myself in will lead me to my Father that I might be blessed by His peace and His presence. When I make a mistake, if I give it to Him, He will work it for my good. I simply need to know, believe, and love Him with my whole heart.
I will never forget this trip to the Cleveland Clinic on the 16th year of being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis – it was as if the Father was whispering, “The journey just keeps getting better. My daughter – I love you.”