On a recent roadtrip up I-85, I came across a sign, warning “BRIDGE ICES BEFORE ROAD.” You know the one I’m talking about. Yellow diamond, right before a bridge. I was up in the Appalachains, and for a split second, I began to feel anxious. My chest tightened, and I tensed up, waiting to hit the patch of ice, hoping I wouldn’t lose control of the car.
Then I looked around. The trees wore the lush green of late summer. It was hot as blazes outside. There would be no ice on the bridge that day.
I began to think about all the ways I do the same in life, looking towards some possible (and yet unknown) future with anxiety, hoping I won’t lose control. Will I get a job before I run out of money to pay rent? Will it be a job I actually like? What will be the outcome of my dating relationship? Will I really make it through seminary? If so, what will I do with my degree?
But if I take a minute to look around at my present circumstances, my life is in a pleasant place of rest. Like the Psalmist’s picturesque green pastures and quiet waters, my Good Shepherd is leading me through a season of rest from work, leading me through the joy of being well-cared for by a kind and generous man, and leading me through the restoration of learning about Himself from professors who are both thoughtful and spiritual – men who are a little further along on this ancient journey than I am.
This week in the Gospels class that I’m taking, we looked at the Sermon on the Mount, which includes this memorable bit of Jesus’ teaching:
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He [God] will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33)
In some ways, I’m driving the car (seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously). In other ways, I’m just along for the ride (He will give you everything you need!). The main point, though, is this: I’m on a journey called Life, and while there will almost definitely be ice patches somewhere up ahead, the lush green of late summer is where I am today. No need to be anxious about tomorrow!