Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Distraction...or Divine Providence??

"O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps."
Jeremiah 10:23

Do you ever think about the little decisions you make every day?
Those little choices that seem like they don't really matter...
that they are pretty much inconsequential and unimportant?
Did you ever stop to consider that maybe God is directing your path
through the desires He places within you?

Let me explain.
We were traveling on vacation the other day,
just taking our time...
when we found ourselves driving on a country road.

We find it hard to pass Thrift Stores,
Goodwill Stores,
yard sales,
and antique stores.
There just seems to be an invisible force...
pulling us in their direction!

So, when we passed a neat-looking old general store
with old signs, antiques, and old, well-worn, weathered looking items scattered out front,
we felt that compelling pull tempting us to turn around.
We were hungry, and it was nearing lunch-time.

So, we were faced with one of those minor, seemingly unimportant choices.

Should we, or should we not?

We really wanted to get to our destination,
and it would probably be time-consuming to go back.
But, soon the pull become stronger
than the gnawing, ever-increasing hunger in our stomachs
and our desire to get settled in our motel.
So, the desire to go back eventually won out.

Kevin found a place to turn around,
and we went back to look at all of the goodies.
It turned out, they were having a large
flea-market, swap-type sale,
with venders from different areas
selling their wares set up on make-shift tables.

The sale covered a large area of ground,
and it took us a while to cover it all.
We enjoyed every minute,
made a couple of small purchases,
and walked back to our car...
happy with our decision to turn around...
and getting hungrier by the minute.

We got back on the two-lane beaten path
and were making good time, when all of a sudden,
we noticed traffic was beginning to back up ahead of us.
Kevin slowed down,
and we tried to figure out what was causing the delay.

After a period of time,
he was able to spot an 18-wheeler leaning towards the side of the road,
he could see that there were police lights flashing,
and that an ambulance had arrived on the scene.
We waited for a while, hoping the delay wouldn't last long.
We saw that the cars in front of us were beginning to turn around,
and it appeared they were looking for an alternate route.

It didn't look like the situation would be resolved anytime soon,
so Kevin pulled into the parking lot of a nearby store.
We asked a kind man standing outside if there was another way to
get to our destination.
He answered that there was and took the time to draw us a map.

"What happened?" I asked.

"An 18-wheeler collided with a car", he replied.

So, that was the reason for the delay.

It hit me with full force...
that could have been us.

It very easily could have been.

Seeing that the ambulance and police had sufficient time to arrive on the scene,
the wreck could very well have happened right around the time
we would have been passing through...
had we not stopped at the sale.

What if we had decided to pass?
What if we hadn't felt that pull to turn around?
Would it have been our car that collided with the semi?

I began to think about the consequences to our actions.

Everything we do has a consequence.

Every day and sometimes many times throughout the day,
I find myself fervently praying what must seem like very repetitive prayers to God.
"Lord, please don't let me get out of your will."
"Father, please keep us on the right path."
"Please guide and direct and protect us in every single thing we do today."

I do not know what is best.
I cannot see the future.
I am unaware of dangers ahead of me.
I am unable to spot the hidden land mines.
I do not see the accident that is about to happen.

Jeremiah acknowledged his dependence on God's direction in today's passage of Scripture.

I recite his words often in my prayers,
and I remind God how dependent I truly am upon Him and His continual direction

I feel a desperate need for His counsel....
even in the smallest, most simple matters of my life.

We thanked the man who drew the map for us,
and we drove away feeling the weight of what might have been.

At the very least,
our plans for a relaxing vacation could have been horribly altered....
completely ruined.
At the worst,
we could have lost our lives.

I did not hear any other details about the accident.
I don't know how many cars were involved,
or how many people were in each vehicle.
I may never know.

What I do know is that God answered prayer.
He orchestrated the details of our lives...
to steer us away from danger....
to remove us from peril....
to show His love to us....
one more time.

How many times has He done that?

Mom used to thank God in her prayers for sparing her from dangers seen and unseen.
Sometimes, we see the danger from which we have been spared.
We are brought face to face with the indisputable evidence of God's providential care.
What about all of the times of which we are not made aware?

Accidents that didn't happen because we were prompted to stop at the store on the way home.
Collisions we avoided because that last-minute customer ended up at our desk.
The robbery that was thwarted because the phone rang on our way out the door.


I think not.
I suppose we will never fully know or realize all of the pain,
and peril...
from which each of us have been and are regularly spared.
All because of a loving God...
Who cares about the smallest, most seemingly insignificant details of our lives...
of our day.
Who sometimes sends interruptions...
to detain us,
to detour us,
to distract us...
from certain danger.

Sometimes He places something we like to do in our path...
to pull us out of harm's way.

I am glad He sees the whole picture.
I am thankful He loves us, aren't you?

After we stopped at the swap meet,
we found out it is a once-a-year event.

We knew nothing of it.

God did.
That was all that mattered.

His all-seeing eye is upon each and every one of us,
and He knows what to do to get our attention.
He is a faithful, loving Heavenly Father,
Who is ever attentive to our needs and constantly aware of the dangers lurking about us.

Sometimes life's distractions turn out to be Divine interruptions.

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