The Future Isn't Accident-Prone
This will be my last Devo for a little over a week because I'm about to go on a trip that was supposed to happen in 2020 but got rescheduled a few times until now.
To be honest, I'm not sure how to feel about this trip because there are so very many things that have to get done before I go, and I'm leaving tomorrow (Wednesday).
This also means I've got at least three to-do lists going right now. As I stare at them at this moment I realize that I am nowhere near being ready, and honestly, it feels like I won't get there, which is pretty overwhelming.
I know what you're thinking: "Yo, Leon. I'm having a really hard time feeling any sympathy as you machinate over going on a trip... Wanna trade places?"
Yeah, I get that. But hear me out for a moment.
That feeling of unpreparedness, and all of the angst that goes with it is something that most of us have felt (or are feeling right about now) in the midst of times of uncertainty.
We might feel it in different degrees, but it's there nonetheless.
For many of us, our desire to control all of the outcomes of our future sometimes manifests itself in interesting ways. Like when we're getting ready to go on a trip, for example.
I had someone tell me once, "I work so hard before I go on vacation that it takes me several days to decompress, and then I end up working even harder when I get back. It's gotten to the point where I dread going away."
I laughed along with my friend at her hyperbolic statement, but deep down inside I'm pretty sure neither one of us was laughing because we both knew what she said was true for us.
Here's the thing about life, you can't predict it, and you can't control it.
There will be unexpected twists and turns in your road and no matter how prepared you might be, there will probably be a crash or two as you roll on toward the future.
You can try to slow your roll, or think that you can just pull over and wait by the side of the road in order to minimize the potential for an accident, but you can't, really.
There are other people on that road, as it turns out, and if you think it's hard to control your own driving, try controlling theirs... it can't be done. Sometimes they just run right into you while you're sitting there minding your own business, trying to be safe.
I'm not advocating against planning, and definitely not against making lists, mind you. Like I said, I've got at least three going right now. It helps me to make them, and it's pretty dang satisfying to check off the items on those lists---one at a time.
What I am saying is that even while we do our best to make the future easier and less accident-prone, we can't beat ourselves up when it isn't. We need to show ourselves grace as we clumsily and cluelessly make plans that don't turn out as we'd hoped.
We need to show ourselves the kind of grace that God shows us---the kind of grace that envelopes us in our frailty and uncertainty and brings peace. And with this peace comes the defiant hope that no matter what happens, we are held in love.
May it be so for you today and every day from this day. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.