Our kids learned to travel long distances from the time they were babies. Matthew flew halfway around the world twice by the time he was 20 months old; Stephanie made the trip from Nepal to the U.S. when she was only three days old. Kim was born in the States, so she didn’t accumulate frequent flier miles while still in diapers, but she was only 8 months old when she made the first of many road trips from Washington to Alberta to visit her grandparents.
Videos, ipods, and other techno wizardry didn’t exist back then, so our kids kept themselves occupied by listening to Focus on the Family’s Odyssey tapes and reading books galore. On one long trip to southern California, they enjoyed coloring books, water pistols, and bubbles that I’d packed to help pass the time and make it more enjoyable.
Yes, our kids were great travelers, even if they did ask the inevitable: “Are we almost there?” If they’d had a choice, they probably would rather have entered a time warp machine and pressed a button labeled “Instant Arrival.” Instead, they had to learn how to be patient and enjoy the journey until they reached the destination.
Just as we have to learn patience along a physical journey, so we need to learn patience along the journey of life. Sometimes that’s a tough lesson. For instance, we might set our sights on a goal or relationship and then head that direction. We want an “instant arrival,” so we put prayer on hold (ie: “I don’t have time to pray”) and try to take shortcuts, or we speed ahead of the proper process and procedure. What happens? We end up in trouble. I’ve done this myself, and I’ve watched others do it, too.
Becoming a patient traveler on the Highway of Life doesn’t happen overnight. It comes as we learn to trust God’s sovereignty. It comes when we begin to see our circumstances through His eyes and realize that He works on an eternal timetable. It comes as we learn to give our concerns to Him in prayer and then wait for Him to answer in His way.
Psalm 37:34 says, “Don’t be impatient for the LORD to act! Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you, giving you the land…” What does this verse teach us? To set aside our desires for an “instant arrival.” Practice patience. Relax, travel steadily and surely along God’s path for us. Resist the temptation to rush ahead of His timing by taking matters into our own hands. When we do this, we avoid self-inflicted trouble and we experience God’s honor and rewards.
Would you call yourself a patient traveler on the Highway of Life? If not, why not? What troubles have you encountered when you’ve been impatient? What blessings have you enjoyed when you’ve waited for the Lord to act on your behalf?