This morning I was travelling up to Marion, Iowa, to speak to a wonderful group of MOPS Next moms. I had a little over two hours to drive and found myself looking forward to the time alone in the car with my podcasts, music library and some Jesus talkin time. I left a little early just to be sure I would arrive on time, because, after all, “one never knows what may happen now, does one?” (Thanks, mom, for those words of wisdom)
As soon as I left the house I saw my first sign. Twelve eagles were flying over the Mississippi River Bridge. I mean they were soaring. It was beautiful, and I couldn’t help but think of Isaiah’s words, “They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) I have never seen so many eagles out at one time. I laughed a little thinking that they were probably always out at this time of day, I just usually wasn’t. And I had to think that an increase in eagles means winter is on its way–signs of things to come. What I didn’t think was that those eagles could be signs of things to come today. But. . .maybe I should have.
Because as I drove out of town singing about how “emotional girls should all wear mood rings,” I saw loaded propeller trucks coming up from the opposite direction preparing to turn onto “my” highway. Propeller trucks are the semis used around here to transport wind turbine propellers. To say they are huge is an understatement. There are always several small trucks with their “oversized load” signs driving nearby (like we wouldn’t notice their oversized load), and I thought to myself, I really need to use this when I speak. I mean how many times do we feel like the load we are carrying is just bigger than it should be? Wouldn’t it be great if we could just have a sign on the day as we started it out? WARNING: TODAY IS AN OVERSIZED LOAD DAY. Be alert! Proceed with caution and all will be fine! Maybe we could even have our own sign so that others could be prepared when they see us coming. “Wuh-oh, slow down, woman with an oversized emotional load coming this way.”
Although the oversized load slowed down my trip, I wasn’t worried. I was soaring like the eagles, singing about God’s faithfulness and how I was never, ever, ever getting back together with my old life when I saw the “construction zone” and “reduce speed ahead” signs. (That and miles of orange cones) So of course, I reduced my speed, determined not to let the fact that I was now driving what seemed like endless miles at 55 instead of 65 bother me, and thought again about those eagles, and how good God was to prepare me first thing today for the waiting I would again be facing.
I finally made it through the construction zone and continued to soar when I found myself coming up on a lighted sign that, I must admit, I missed part of—why do they put moving words signs out on roads filled with semis anyway??? I did see the words “expect delays,” but I must have missed a few other details. Again, my mind went to the talk I was about to give (which was quickly becoming delayed in its own right) because we often face barriers and delays, and wouldn’t it be nice if there was a sign to warn us? Little did I know I was actually going to have time to rewrite my talk (although I wouldn’t because that would have been unsafe to do while driving!) No doubt, that last sign should have read, “Expect Major Delays and Prepare to Drive 2 Miles an Hour for the Next 20 Miles.” Yeah, I know. . . that would have been too many words for the electronic sign.
So as I sat and sat and sat and sat, I thought about those eagles and I thought about those signs and I thought about the blog I would write instead of the talk I would not be re-writing, and I realized that God usually does give us signs, and He often gives us warnings. It’s just that we are often so caught up in so many other things that we don’t see them. As a result our responses and reactions are often reckless, dangerous and filled with impatience over things we can’t change, rather than calm and purposeful as we wait patiently on the One who has everything under control.
So take this as a sign: When we slow down a bit, open our eyes and watch for the signs, we can truly wait upon the Lord, allowing Him to renew our strength so that we can soar through the delays, road blocks, narrow paths, and detours that come our way, and we can do it all with joy—a sign to others of the power of God at work in us.
Consider all joy, my friends, when you face trials of many kinds for the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-3