This week's memory verse:
"Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage." -- Psalm 84:5
Potholes...they are a nuisance and an annoyance and can cause major damage to your vehicle. But...they ARE inevitable. Weather and heavy use of our roads make potholes and there's nothing we can do about them, except be on the lookout for them. If we are alert drivers and use common sense and caution as we drive, we can avoid most potholes, or if we can't avoid them, we can hit them without causing a lot of damage to our cars.
This pilgrimage we are on...heading toward God...living our daily lives the best we can until we reach our final destination...there are bound to be potholes that we have to deal with along the way.
Sometimes, those potholes are avoidable and we can drive around them. Planning your day's meals ahead of time helps you be prepared for the hunger that strikes you mid-day and you don't just go out and grab an artery clogging burger and fries, but grab your packed sandwich and apple instead.
Sometimes, if we know a certain road is covered with potholes (from a bad winter or a road that trucks travel daily) we can change our path. For example...the friends you have been hanging around with have been doing a lot of drinking and partying lately, and you don't want to get mixed up in the consequences, both to your body and the possibility of drinking and driving. So...even as difficult as it can be...you stop hanging out with those friends and find other friends who won't take you down the wrong path.But...you change the path that you are going and you can change the destination.
And then...sometimes...you can be traveling down a safe, semi-pothole-free road and you don't see the big whopper ahead of you. WHAM! You hit it before you can swerve to avoid it. It takes out your car, and possibly causes you major injury. These life-changing potholes can cause your life to turn on a dime. How you handle it...how you allow God to help you handle it...determines how the rest of your pilgrimage will go.
As always, God gives us examples in the Bible of other people who have gone through hard times, as we do, and how their faith has gotten them through those times. Read Ruth Chapter 1.
Naomi and her husband and two sons moved from their hometown to a nearby town. While there, Naomi's husband died. This must have been very difficult for her...to lose her love and help-mate. Her sons both married and their family grew with the addition of the new wives. I can imagine that the sons and their wives were a comfort to Naomi as she grieved for her husband. But then, both of her sons died too. Heartbroken, she decided to go back to her hometown. She encouraged her daughters-in-law to stay in their hometown and find new husbands. They were young and had much life ahead of them. One of the women, Ruth, couldn't bear to be separated from her mother-in-law and she vowed to go where Naomi went and her people would be her people and Naomi's God would be her God. They traveled together back to Naomi's home. While Naomi was grateful to Ruth for coming with her...she was beginning to feel bitter for the way her life was turning out. She felt that God had afflicted her by taking her husband and sons.
Naomi hit some pretty big potholes in her life. It has changed the path that she was headed...her grief and pain had allowed bitterness to creep into her life. We experience that as well. When we hit bad potholes in our lives, we too feel afflicted and allow bitterness to creep in.
But...Naomi's story is not over! Tomorrow we'll hear how God helps her deal with the affects of those potholes.
In the mean time...if you have hit potholes in your life that have caused major damage...have faith! God can use those potholes and changes for the good! Remember that no matter where your path may lead...you never have to travel it alone!