And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. [Isaiah 58:11 (ESV)]
On our recent visit to the Canadian Rockies, we had a delightful bus driver named Phil. At seventy, he’s logged thousands of miles. We were his eleventh tour of the summer and he knows the area like the back of his hand. Although kind and good-natured, Phil was just formidable enough that we wanted to obey his directions for fear of encountering his wrath. Clearly, he was the boss of the bus!
Phil told us of one tour director who didn’t understand that the man with the keys is the one in charge. After delivering her group to a scenic glacial lake, a forest fire caused the highway to be closed. When he told the tour director that the closure prevented their return to Jasper, she refused to believe him. When the bus was denied passage by the police, she insisted that her group was special and should be allowed to proceed in spite of the danger. Perhaps she didn’t understand the “fire” part of forest fire and that people and busses burn right along with trees. Realizing that the fire had stranded hundreds of tourists who would now need beds for the night, the experienced driver used his connections to reserve rooms for the group near Banff. When he told the director of his find, she was irate. “That’s my job!” she exclaimed, “You can’t do that!” Sure that she knew more than Phil, he was told to cancel their reservations. Of course, she had no connections, no rooms were available, and the accommodations they’d briefly had courtesy of Phil had been immediately snapped up by another tour. As a result of her pigheadedness, rather than spending the evening at a charming mountainside lodge, the group piled back on the bus. There is only one road between Jasper and Banff and, since it was impassable, the group had a ten hour drive across Alberta before arriving back in Jasper in the wee hours of the morning. Unappreciative of Phil’s efforts, the tour director had the gall to complain about him; the wild fire, road closure and the resulting fiasco were all his fault!
Phil’s story could be a parable of sorts. The experienced bus driver represents God. It is He who makes the rules, determines where we’ll go, and the length of our trip. He knows when we should slow down to enjoy the scenery, speed up to get somewhere, take a detour, or stop to take a rest. Knowledgeable and experienced, His first priority is the welfare of His people. Although He wants us to have a memorable journey, like Phil, God doesn’t want us to perish in an inferno. Unfortunately, we’re much like the headstrong tour director. When God says, “No!” we insist that the answer should be yes. When God offers a better alternative, we refuse to accept it because it’s not our idea. We miss out on blessings because we’re sure we know more than He. Moreover, we then have the nerve to complain about God’s plan when we’re the ones who refused to follow it!
That intractable tour director was a “Plan A” sort of person; no deviations allowed in her itinerary! Fortunately, ours was a “Plan B” guide; new to the tour, she listened to Phil. When he suggested a few itinerary changes that would make our trip more enjoyable, she happily conceded to his wisdom. A “Plan B” person knows that life rarely runs according to plan and that adjustments continually have to be made. Sometimes we need to stop to take a breath, run for shelter from a storm, or detour around danger. A “Plan B” person thinks of life as an adventure and trusts that God has a beautiful journey planned. Life’s delays and detours, while not what we expect or even want, must be embraced and enjoyed. If we’ll just accept His direction, God usually has something wonderful waiting right around the corner. He’s been running the world for a very long time. Trust Him; He’s taken people down this road before and knows exactly what He’s doing.
You find no difficulty in trusting the Lord with the management of the universe and all the outward creation, and can your case be any more complex or difficult than these, that you need to be anxious or troubled about His management of it? [Hannah Whitall Smith]