Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Trusting God at the Top of the Bridge

Our bridge looks elegant in the picture I found below:

Image result for talmadge bridge savannah georgia

but let me tell you its a whole different animal when you are crossing it in your family-filled mini-van at the height of a massive thunderstorm with wind gusts reaching up to 75 and 80 mph! Those were the circumstances we found ourselves in a couple weeks ago as we trekked home from a great afternoon of visiting with family and playing on the beach. As we started the hour-plus drive home, the rain was just starting to drop and the sky was just beginning to turn dark and ugly. But within a few minutes we found ourselves in the middle of that growing storm. Lightning bolts began crashing one on top of the other all around us. The wind started picking up and Jon's phone received an alert: "Severe thunderstorm. Take cover immediately." Thank you. We can see that. But what if you're on a lonely stretch of road, in your van, and the last real stop before you get to the bridge is some kinda strip-club you'd rather not take cover in?!

So, we drove on with the hopes that we could get home before the storm got any worse. There was tons of lightning and the rain was coming down in sheets, but it didn't really get scary until we started crossing the bridge. As we started heading up and over it I thought "maybe this wasn't a good idea." A split-second later those wind gusts started hitting us and I began to pray OUT LOUD variations of the following: "Lord, please get us across this bridge. God help us to get off this bridge. Lord please get us over the bridge!" You could see the swirling wind in front of us and feel it pressing us toward the center wall. Jon's hands were clenched on the steering wheel, and I was continuing to pray. In just a few moments the clenched-teeth tension started to wane as we drove over the crest and became level with the treetops. And once we were off the bridge entirely, my mind was able to formulate a new thought: "Thank you God! Now somebody needs to shut down that bridge!" 

God protected us and got us safely home that night. We didn't get stuck on any partially flooded roads downtown, we didn't hydroplane, we didn't get hurt as we raced into our house, and biggest relief of all...we didn't get blown off the bridge! As Jon and I reflected on the experience, we laughed at the different reactions of our children. Two of them slept through the whole thing, not waking until we were almost home. One sat wide-eyed in the backseat asking "what's that sound?" every few minutes (I chose not to say "Its the wind baby. The wind that seems to want to throw us off this bridge and into the dark, fast-moving water below!"). And our other child, bless her heart, was reading a book. Literally holding a flashlight with the book up to her nose the WHOLE TIME!      

We laughed about it, but later as I reflected on the experience I realized that our little book reader was showing the most faith. She had faith that her dad was in control of the van and would get her home. It doesn't really take a lot of faith to sleep through an ordeal and never know you're in danger in the first place. It also doesn't take a lot of faith to freeze in fear, staring at the circumstances around you. It wouldn't have taken faith to jump into the driver seat and try to take over the wheel or start offering advice on how to get through the storm (thankfully no one did either of those last two things!). 

What takes faith is to see and recognize that there is danger around you, but to trust that your safety is in the hands of someone bigger and more capable. To trust that someone else will drive you through the storm, so you can just continue doing what you were doing before. That was the faith our little reader had in her dad. And that's the kind of faith I want to have in God. When I see life's storms of difficulty and illness, trial and pain, persecution and hardship, I want to have this kind of faith. To recognize the storm, yet trust that God's Word is true. Trust that God has my life under control. That He is bigger and more capable. He doesn't need my help or advice. And He definitely doesn't want me to have a panic attack or freeze up in the face of my fears. He wants me to trust in Him, and to continue doing whatever task He's called me to do.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not just flippantly suggesting that when the going gets tough we all sit down with a book and ignore the chaos around us. But isn't it true that even when life is hard, even when we're reeling from a poor prognosis or unexpected financial hit, even when we are aching from a painful loss...we can still choose to lay those burdens on the Lord? We can still choose to get out of bed (even if we have to pray minute-by minute-for the strength to move!), surrender the day to the Lord, and trust that He has it all under control.

God help me to walk in Your ways, following Your will, and trusting You to steer me through the hard times! Remind me every day, in every difficulty, that you are the God of Psalm 91. "My refuge and my fortress" (v.2), my deliverer (v.3), my "dwelling place" (v.9), the One who "command[s] his angels concerning [me] to guard [me] in all [my] ways" (v.11). 

You are the Lord who has made this promise to those who love and follow You: "When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation" (Psalm 91:15-16). 

God is in control. My life is in His hands and He knows what to do. He knows my needs. No matter how hard and scary things may become, I have to cling to this truth. I can trust Him at the top of the bridge.

Lord, help us learn to say with confidence: "let the storms come...my God is driving and He can handle this!"

(photo credit flickr.com)

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