No matter which way I leave my house, I find road construction.
It is everywhere in Duluth! And if by chance I find a road that is not being worked on, chances are there is a new structure being built, with large vehicles coming and going. Whether I am going to work, to shop, to bring a child to or from an activity, to go to the library – you name it: my normal routes from point A to point B are disrupted. And everything takes longer.
It can make a person downright cranky sometimes.
Yet, for the most part, I am grateful for the investment in our infrastructure. Usually I am able to take the longer view and realize that, in the long run, a bit of inconvenience and frustration now will pay off big. In the meantime, I am forced out of my auto-pilot mode as I travel new streets and try ingenious ways to bypass the detours (which usually take far more time than just getting in line with the other cars, but sometimes yield wonderful results). I see new things, learn new areas, just see the world from a slightly different angle.
Then I get another bonus later on in the fall when it is all over: I can return to my former routes with renewed appreciation for their convenience, and get to drive on smooth pavement to boot! It is a wonderful feeling that will last and last and last….until the orange signs and cones go up again.
Do you ever feel like your faith life is under major construction? That no matter which way you turn in your life, there are either major potholes to be fixed, or the tearing up of the old road is already underway? It’s as though the infrastructure of your devotional life is crumbling and it all needs to be fixed at once. You are forced to think in new ways, cope in new ways, and forge new paths. In the midst of all of this, how often do you think, “I just want to go back to my old routes!”?
But we can never stay in one faith routine. Why, you ask? Because in our baptism, God claimed us for the kingdom and will not stop the work of re-creating us, not ever! And while in the long run, that is a comforting and blessed thought, it also means that we are going to be shaken out of our old ways once in awhile. It may be rough going during those times of growth and change – there might be orange signs and major detours and times when we are forced to grind to a halt, stuck in a long line of traffic, unable to go forward or backward. It can feel as though nothing will be right ever again.
But in the long view, we know that God is loving us and guiding us on our way to a new level of faith, a new understanding of who we are as disciples of Jesus, a new creation in Christ. And when we do get over the rough patch, and can return to a more comfortable serene routine, we can appreciate the smoothness of the path and the ease with which we navigate the twists and runs along the way. It is a great blessing that we can revel in….
…until God spots another pothole in our sinful souls, and puts up the orange signs and cones, making us new once again.