“Stop stressing about it and will just happen.”
“Just relax and let it happen.”
“Stop putting so much pressure on yourself!”
“Worry will make it worse, just let it go!”
When we are seeking the sincerest desires of our hearts – the next step in life we are aching for – these words of advice come often from those around us. Whether it is finding a spouse, trying to conceive, or waiting for a wayward child to come back, it seems that the answer is to give up, to stop trying. But when it is the thing you want most, how do you stop trying?
I have pondered this seemingly backwards idea and recently come to understand it…
When we are so focused on what we want most (albeit a righteous desire), we believe that if we can control every aspect of the process, that it will happen. And when someone asks us to abandon control, it seems absurd, that if we were to do that, then no one would be in control, that it would seem we no longer care – like we kept driving, but no ones hands were on the steering wheel…
During a crisis of faith, giving up control seems impossible, it seems like too much, because we want to control it all, because we only trust ourselves to do it right. Allowing anyone else to do it seems like a betrayal to our desires.
When we have faith, we are not giving up control and allowing the car to drift, we are allowing God to drive, to take the wheel. We are allowing ourselves to be humble and acknowledge that we can trust Him, our Heavenly Father, who has infinite knowledge, to drive.
While exercising faith, we often have to continue to stretch and to exercise (or strengthen) our patience.
And patience is when we have to resist being a back seat driver, when we resist telling the driver that there is a better way to go, resist becoming angry when He takes the long way.
While we often feel we have a good sense of the route to our dreams, we may not know the city as best we could, we may not have the best traffic-avoiding app, and we may not realize that taking the scenic route is just what we need.
It can become easy to get anxious along this road, thinking that the Driver has forgotten where we are going, that he doesn’t really know the way, that this cant possibly be the best way to get there! And then our worries and stress turn to fears and lack of faith.
But sometimes along the way we get to see the tender mercies of the Lord, see the beauty amidst our trials and see what we might learn on the way there.
And there are times we don’t want to give up that drivers seat again, or stop back-seat driving, because we have done that once already and we have learned this lesson already. But when we are able to do that, we can see that each time we have a trial to endure, a wish to wait for, that we can be shown new and wonderful ways in which God visits his sons and daughter in their afflictions. (see Mosiah 24:13-15)
And sometimes you are driving along, utterly confused by the path you are taking, perplexed by this route through the craziest tunnel in New York during rush hour…. and something will change.
Often times we get so fixated upon the final destination and how we think we ought to get there, we can miss the alternate route, or alternate way in which to get there.
We know that we must first have a trial to build faith, and that faith does precede the miracle. When we allow Him to drive and to take us on the path He has chosen to best suit our growth, we can better understand the mysteries of God.
I shall speak unto you that you should hearken unto me and open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view. –Mosiah 2:9
And then – without realizing it – something changes and He asks you to take a step forward, to press the red button….
And the mysteries of God, and the tender mercies begin to flow, as the impossible path you thought He was leading you down, now becomes a miracle.
You are now in a car with turbo-boosters that can drive on the top of a subway tunnel!
Now, I hope you will pardon my sci-fi movie metaphor when speaking about Faith in God and Patience in His Timing, but I feel it is a great likeness.
To quote the third installment of these films…
A miracle is something that seems impossible, but happens anyway.
Faith is letting Him drive. Patience is trusting Him as he continues to drive, no matter how long the journey.
At times, giving over control to anyone, even God, can seem an impossible task. And allowing Him to continue to drive us along a different path than we would have chosen can be a trial on its own, but I want to testify that God will never get us lost, or never leave us behind.
He will ask us to trust Him along the way, but He will never lead us astray.
And if we can hold on, oftentimes He will allow us to witness a miracle. And it may not be what we planned, or what we thought, but oftentimes the experiences that are different, that make us stand out, are also the ones where God allows us to stand up and be more than we were.
I have not yet witnessed the miracle in my current car ride with my Father, but He has shown me signs along the way (oh I love a perfect metaphor, complete with puns) to remind me that He indeed knows what He is doing, where we are going, and that I can trust Him. And the more it varies from my plan, the more I feel the personalization of our journey together and how special the final destination will be. Whenever we get there.
“Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom; Lead thou me on! The night is dark, and I am far from home; Lead thou me on! Keep thou my feet; I do not has to see The distant scene — one step enough for me.
“I was never thus, nor prayed that thou Shouldst lead me on. I loved to choose to see my path; but now, Lead thou me on! I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears, Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years.
“So long thy pow’r hath blest me, sure it still Will lead me on O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent till The night is gone. And with the morn those angel faces smile. Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.” (Hymn 97 v1-3)
“I believe in Christ; he stands supreme! From him I’ll gain my fondest dream; And while I strive through grief and pain, His voice is heard: “Ye shall obtain.” I believe in Christ; so come what may, With him I’ll stand in that great day.” (Hymn 134 v4)