It's a Bumpy Road
I want to share with you an amazing thing the Lord spoke to my heart this morning as I was out walking my dog. You see, the road that we walk Annie on each morning is a mess. Itís been a mess for a while. Itís a small country road that doesnít get the best of attention. It makes a great dog-walking road, but I wouldnít want to drive on it if I donít have to. Itís a tiny, bumpy, poorly maintained, country road. In fact, if two cars approach one another on the road one has to go onto the grass to let the other get by. Itís that kind of a road.
A couple of months ago a road crew came through and scraped the surface of the road, including the area that led into the ditches on the side of the road. In the process they made a mess of the road! They left a lot of branches, grass, dirt, stones, and pavement on the road in the process. The pavement was all chipped and grooved, chunks were taken out, and there were deep scrapes from some kind of a blade that was carelessly dragged across the surface over and over again. They left big holes and loose stone all over the road. Suddenly, the road made African roads look good.
My comments to Sandra were something like, ďThese guys donít know what theyíre doing. They just made a huge mess of this road! Iím glad I donít have to drive this road.Ē
A few weeks went by before another road crew (or perhaps the same one) came through and dotted the road with some patch asphalt. They filled in some holes (and left others), they ran long swatches of asphalt from one place to another; they filled in some of the ditches, and made another mess. It looked like a new wall looks when drywallers have spackled the screw holes before they sand it: gobs of stuff here and there, streaks of stuff from one side to another- it was a mess. I wasnít sure they did anything to help improve the driving experience. They just moved the bumps and holes around from one place to another.
My comments to Sandra were something like, ďThese guys donít know what theyíre doing. They just came by and made another mess of the road. Itís a different mess, but itís still a mess. Iím glad I donít have to drive this road.Ē
This morning is easily 6 weeks since they first came through and massacred the road. But today was radically different. Yesterday a road crew came through (maybe the same one) and put oil and stone down on the road and it looks brand new. You canít see the holes, the gouges, the grooves, or the mistakes. Itís smooth, itís crisp, and itís as beautiful as a country road can be.
I used to work as a draftsman for a civil engineering firm. I learned a lot about designing, constructing, and maintaining roads as I poured over the drawings and worked with civil engineers each and every day. I learned what caused pot holes and what really needed to be done to eliminate them. I can identify problems with roadways and have a pretty good idea what needs to be done to fix them.
However, somewhere along the way I forgot all about the process that engineers and road crews use to maintain roads. I forgot that there was an engineer who knows what the finished job looks like and knows the steps necessary to get the job done. I forgot that along the way the road was going to look like a mess, but that mess was just temporary Ė it was a necessity caused by the process that would make it smooth in the end. Of course, sometimes that road crew does all that work in a day and you donít really see the process. Sometimes that road crew does it one step at a time and you have to live with the mess while you trust theyíre ďstill working on it.Ē You have the hope that one day soon they will finish and all will be well.
Then I realized that this is exactly how the Lord works in our lives. He knows what Heís doing. He knows what the end result is going to look like. He knows the process He needs to implement to take us from where we are today to where weíre going to be. Sometimes He does all that work in a day Ė sometimes there are weeks or years between the days we see Him working. In fact, after walking with the Lord for more than 40 years I can say that He RARELY does all the work in one day. He is patient. He has a great plan. Of course, I also believe that we would see Him do more work and it would be done more quickly if we allowed Him to. But we are the ones who often stand in the way.
I remember a time when a road crew was resurfacing a local road when a car accident occurred just ahead of where they were working that day. Rather than stop the work and wait for the accident scene to be cleared, they went around the cars on the side of the road and probably planned to come back later and fill in the spot that they missed. Later that day, when you passed by that spot in the road, it looked as if the road crew totally missed that section. It would have been easy to accuse them of not doing a good job if you didnít know the circumstances and their plans to fix the error.
So many times we accuse the Lord of doing a bad job in our lives when we were the ones who got in the way of His work, or completely stopped His progress.
He removes the rough spots and smooths the surface for the work that is coming. Then He fills in the holes and prepares for the resurfacing. Finally, He puts down a brand new surface, smoothing out everything that is below. ďBehold, He makes all things new!Ē (Revelation 21:5.) ďTherefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!Ē (2 Corinthians 5:17.)
I want to be the kind of a person who trusts the Master Designer, who believes that He is always at work in my life, and who knows that one day the work will be done. I know the work will be done well. I know the work will give Him the glory. I know the work will be used to advance His Kingdom.
Iím not sure where He is in the process, but I submit to it and trust that He will use me today.
I hope this is your intention today as well.
James E. Bogoniewski, Jr.