There are certain expectations in life that are necessary so that we know how to navigate through life. In other words, they help ready us for what is coming next.
Like when driving. If there is a narrowing road up ahead, we expect that the left lane will merge into the right lane, right? I mean, that seems to be the way it works most of the time.
Well, on my way to work every day there is just such a road narrowing where our two lanes go down to one. And, for whatever reason, the engineer decided that the right lane was going to merge into the left.
Now, this is clearly marked, “Right Lane Ends,” a right lane merge sign, and BIG arrows on the lane itself. But this morning I watched a car which was in the left lane already (that is, in the correct place), presumably as the driver saw that the lanes were merging, put on its blinker and move into the soon to be gone right lane. And then, as the HUGE arrows on the lane appeared, put its left blinker on to come back to the lane it started from.
I don’t blame this driver — it is a crazy system and, more to the point, goes against expectations.
I am about to do a new thing;Isaiah 43:19
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
This, however, got me thinking about our expectations of how God acts in the world and in our lives. I wonder how often we miss something because God didn’t act the way we expected. Maybe God was closing down a lane or moving some furniture while we were preparing ourselves for what we expected God to do — and then we just missed it completely!
And maybe that is why we think that the Spirit doesn’t speak to us often. Or why we feel that God is so often silent. Because I am convinced that the Spirit is always whispering in our ear; that God is forever finding a way to be close to us. So why do we miss this? Well, beside the obvious churchy answer of “sin” (which is a topic for another day), I think that we can miss it just because we are expecting God to close the left lane, when really the better route according to God is to close the right.
Here’s the thing: if the Department of Roads can get signage made to give us ample indication of which lane is closing, don’t you think that God is going to give you signs also? Yes! Of course! And so this life of faith is, in part, about opening our eyes to what God is doing, not what we expect God to do.