Thursday, January 12, 2012

Welcome to 2012: Trust

I like traveling. Airplanes are fun, and there’s something beautifully human about airports, but nothing will ever quite be the same as spending hours on end in the car. Around the holidays we spend a lot of time there, our seats hovering a few feet above blurring tarmac as our metal cages hurtle down the highway. I like it best when it’s raining, though I am told it’s dangerous then. I lean into the window, watch the water stain the glass, and drink deep a world spread out like an open sky.

There is a comfort for me in car rides partly because of the lack of control, like on rollercoasters. Even when I am the one driving into late hours of the night, the feeling is the same. Even with hands clenching the steering wheel and the sole of my shoe firmly on the gas, my grasp over the situation is tenuous at best. There are countless other cars shouldering up beside my own at 70 miles an hour, and the slightest misstep and bump in this high speed dance could shatter a life in an instant. Water and ice easily bleed across the pavement, and I will not always be able to avoid them. Every moment of these long car rides, I’m just a moment away from calamities entirely outside of my control. I was reminded of this vividly last summer when I was in a car wreck. In that sudden moment of impact and the crunch of metal and the surge of adrenaline, before we knew everyone was alright, there was a sickened sense of wondering what might be lost.

I still wasn’t afraid of getting in the car after that. Logically, I knew that I’d embarked on thousands of car trips that ended safely, and I wasn’t about to let myself fear something because of a few mishaps. On another level, I understood that even if something worse had happened, that would just be another part of the journey. If everyone who ever experienced a car wreck decided they were afraid to drive, we would live paralyzed and isolated lives.

The year 2011 was the year when, perhaps more than ever before, my life took a few turns (and u-turns) that were not planned. I had control taken from me, and in my struggle to wrestle it back, I got in more than a few wrecks. I started the year with a lot of bitterness and a lot of desperate, last effort plans to try to get my life to where I thought I needed it to be. Within the first few months of the year, every single one of those plans was dismantled. And I felt sure I was left with nothing. My hands were off the steering wheel. I wasn’t even sure there was a steering wheel anymore.

And it was in that moment, when my hands were free, that God said He wanted to give me a gift. I told Him I didn’t want anything, I didn’t need anything, I just wanted to give up. But He quietly stepped in and gave me the only message I would listen to. He reached in through countless iron walls and locked doors and baked-on layers of anger and cynicism and fear. With incredible gentleness, He entered the part of my life that for years had been the most wounded, the most painful, that I had always told Him was beyond healing. He touched it with a hand of redemption, and my world went inside out.

There was a fear that still woke me up sometimes in middle of the night. Fear from the disasters I could remember, the times running off track, fear from regrets. But I have been learning about the nature and necessity of trust.

We have to get in a car trusting that it will reach its destination, no matter how improbable it may seem. It’s only in trust that we can move ahead at all. If we feared calamity every time we got in a car, chances are we’d soon be afraid to even go to the grocery store.

I have a faith that has a much better track record than cars. I serve a God who has never once failed me, even when I fought Him, even when I doubted Him. In my deepest need, in the dark waters where I was the most lost, He walked through the storm to find me. It hardly seems likely that He’s going to leave me now.

If that is the case, then fear would be one of the worst decisions I could make. My regret whispers that this year will be another year full of dark roads and car wrecks, and it would be easy to be afraid. But I am choosing instead to trust-- to trust that I will reach where I need to be, even if it takes longer and the route looks different than I planned. I have seen that God is good, and that He loves. That is all I need.

There are a thousand uncertainties. This year will change everything. I am facing graduation from college with no job, no money, and no plan. There is a temptation to be terrified, but trust tells me that this is going to be one of the best years of my life. God has good things, and I am learning to keep my hands open enough to be able to receive them.

So here I am at the turning, plummeting towards a new beginning, learning to breathe in even when my lungs feel numb. I am excited for the journey. I have no idea where I’ll be six months from today. I have never felt so hopeful in my life.

Thank you all for riding along another year with me. I hope that you choose to hope too, that you find yourself losing control in order to find grace... may 2012 be blessed.

- Elraen -

“This solemn truth I will depend on,
that You could never even think of failing.”