I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I think I have the best way of doing things. I think I know best, and you can’t tell me otherwise. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong, and sometimes I’m wrong and it bites me in the butt.
Last Friday, I was helping move some tents for aHomeInHaiti.org, from the Courageous Church offices up to the warehouse where they would be shipped to Haiti from. I arrived at Courageous at nine in the morning and within two hours we had loaded a 26 foot U-Haul truck with over six palettes of new tents.
Next stop was the warehouse where they’d be loaded into a shipping container. The plan was for me to follow the U-Haul truck up there. At least that was the plan. The team already had another truck at the warehouse unloading some more tents, and I, knowing where the warehouse was, decided that instead of following the truck, I’d jet up there and help the other truck unload. Great plan, right? Right.
As I pulled up to the warehouse, I didn’t see the other truck. Strange, I thought, they should still be here. I sat in my car and waited for a ten minutes before getting the urge to use the restroom. Having seen a QuikTrip on the way over here, I decided that by the time I ran over there, used the bathroom and returned, the other truck would have arrived, and we could commence unloading.
I swiftly handled my business and headed back, my mind set on some more physical labor. Pulling into the parking lot I noticed something missing — the U-Haul truck. Huh. Where are they? I wondered. Well, maybe they had to make a stop or two, something they didn’t tell me about.
At this point I began to create all kinds of possible scenarios in order to explain their absence — even to the point of thinking that maybe they’d gotten into an accident on the interstate, flipped the truck and there were now tents strewn all over the road. (I really did think about that.) And of course, being the smart, forward thinking person that I am, I failed to get anyone’s number so we could connect were something just like this to happen. Good thinking, Stuart.
Forty minutes and a few DMs, and a phone call later, I found out that I missed one crucial piece of information. The warehouse had two buildings. I was clearly at the wrong one. By this time, the truck had come, unloaded, and gone.
There are times in my life when I feel like a complete moron. This was one of those times. I rolled my eyes, slapped my palm to my forehead, and slid down my seat. Idiot. But what’s done is done, right? That rationality really didn’t make me feel any smarter.
Driving to meet my sister for lunch, as I replayed the events that had just transpired, I found one major mistake — I should have just followed them up there, not assuming that I knew where they were going. Any other issue I would have had could have been solved if I had just done what I was supposed to.
Then it occurred to me — how often do I do that with God? How often do I think I know where He’s taking me, and instead of just following Him, go ahead and go there in my own time, my own way. And then, upon my arrival, I sit there and wonder why things don’t add up. How often do I think I know what He wants for me as I jump the gun, get ahead of Him, and in turn screw it all up. In all likelihood, it’s probably more often than I’d care to admit.
Sometimes, the learning curve of life is a bit steep. And maybe that’s a drastic understatement. It’s hard to learn to follow. And for me, following is a learned behavior. For some people it seems to come naturally. I am not one of those people. I’d rather take the lead, be in charge, and have control of any given situation. So learning to follow God and His direction and plan for my life can be a bit challenging, to say the least.
Do you have the same issues? Do you try to do things based on your agenda instead of God’s? While it can be a challenge, it comforts me to know and understand that God sees more from his vantage point than I do from mine. Think about being stuck in traffic in a tractor trailer versus in a small car. From the small car, you can’t really see much, but sitting in the tractor trailer, you’d be able to see much further ahead, and perhaps even monitor traffic online or via radio with other truckers.
At the end of the day, God’s plans for us are immeasurably better than our own plans. He tells us, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” But learning that lesson can be a continual struggle.