Tuesday, February 22, 2011
A Trip to the Beach, A Lesson in Patience
“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him…”
Life often has unexpected twists and turns, and we need patience, persistence and staying power. Thankfully, God gives guidance to help us stay on the right track. Our job is to listen and obey Him.
Yeah, easier said than done.
But I learned a lesson in patience—and God’s interesting ways of guiding our lives—on a day trip to the beach a few years ago.
Here’s the story…
On the western shore of Lake Michigan, along Wisconsin’s coastline, is Harrington Beach. One sunny Saturday I decided to drive there which, according to the map, should’ve taken less than two hours from my home in Milwaukee.
As I drove along, I finally spotted the lake on my right and thought I’d be there shortly. But suddenly the highway turned inland and soon I was driving past farmland and bright red barns. It didn’t seem like I was going the right direction since my car was headed AWAY from the lake.
This can’t possible be the way. I want to go to the beach, yet I’m driving inland past farms!
So I stopped at a gas station and asked the attendant if this was the right way to Harrington Beach, and he assured me it was. While the road had twists and bends, it would eventually lead to my destination.
I guess I just needed to follow his directions and wait for the right exit. I pressed on.
Finally, I saw a road sign that pointed to the correct exit and arrive at the beach parking lot. It was a wooded area and I still couldn’t see any sand or water.
I parked my car, walked through a short wooded path, and down a few wooden stairs. As I descended, I looked up and saw most amazing expanse of sand and water I’d ever seen at a Midwestern beach! Ah! To my right and left were miles of soft sand that beckoned me to walk.
Waves crashed on the shore, sea gulls cawed, and a gentle breeze blew off the lake and cooled me. At last!
It was quite an ordeal to get there—and a test of faith. But my loving God knew the entire time I’d get to that the beach, even as I drove on winding roads that seemed to be going in the opposite direction. He knew the way; I did not.
I learned a big lesson in patience that day.
If I know the One who is leading me, I can trust I will eventually get to my destinations in life—and it gives me strength to endure delay even when the journey doesn’t look how I think it should.
Trust on. Have faith. Even when you cannot see the way.
Jackie M. Johnson is an author and freelance writer in Colorado. Her hope-filled and encouraging books include "Power Prayers for Women," "When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton Is Empty" and "Powerful Prayers for Challenging Times." Jackie also writes the Living Single blog on Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk website.