Do you ever struggle with the fleshly notion that you can find your way forward on your own strength? I know I do. My friend, multi-published author Janalyn Voigt, offers a vivid reminder of Who’s in control.
“Which way should I turn, kids?” My Dad asked from behind the wheel of our family car.
How well I remember that early excursion with my family. With my mother beside him, Dad had taken my brother and me on a drive through the countryside. Now, he seemed to be lost. My brother and put our heads together and came to a decision. “Go right!” we called.
Dad swung the wheel, obedient to our command. At the next turning, he sang out again. This time we wanted him to go left.
“I don’t want to go that direction.” He turned right, instead.
On and on it went, with each corner calling for a decision. After a satisfying journey through wild lands, we wended our way home. The next Sunday, we’d venture out again.
Years later, as an adult visiting my parents, I mentioned how my brother and I had guided my father home.
Dad laughed. “Did you really think I was lost?”
Those road trips gave me the expectation that being lost can lead to something good. I also learned that I don’t have to be in control. That’s like life, isn’t it? We can suggest a direction, but our Heavenly Father steers the car. He lets us choose which way to turn, except when we’re straying too far to find our way home.
This mindset has served me well over the years, but traveling overseas set my positive attitude on its head. My first experience of the total disorientation international travel can cause was when I landed with a female friend in Manila, capital of the Philippine Islands. We’d come to see our husbands, sailors whose ship was on a six-month deployment. They were due to dock tomorrow, and we would take a bus to reach them.
Meanwhile, we needed to find our hotel and settle in for the night. In my native country, this would have been mildly challenging. Exhausted by the long plane trip and feeling at-sea In a foreign land, the simple act of retrieving my luggage overwhelmed me. Strangers crowded in, begging for a handout. Cat-calls and hisses followed us. On the street outside, taxi drivers vied for our attention. The one we chose crossed himself before taking off on the most chaotic journey I hope never to be subjected to again.
I had a similar reaction after arriving in Western Australia, where my husband would serve in a jointly-run American and Australian military base. I woke from the sleep of exhaustion in my new home, a low-slung cinder-block affair and I went into the kitchen to make coffee. A white snake, apparently asleep, lay coiled by the back door. A smooth lizard adorned the wall. Hurrying back to the relative safety of my bed, I sighted a fat cockroach scurrying across the floor.
I was in no way prepared for these events nor for what happened later when I took the bus to the base to purchase a few groceries. Finding my way home became a problem. You see, I’d forgotten my address. I disembarked at the wrong stop and wandered the streets in the heat with my arms full of groceries.
I didn’t think the ostrich-like bird strolling toward me out of the bush at the edge of the housing would approach until it did. The closer the bird came, the larger it grew. My chest tightened as the sharpness of its beak and claws impressed on my mind. “Help me, God,” I breathed.
A car going by stopped, and the driver backed a little. “Do you need a ride?” he asked.
I weighed my options and decided, whether wisely or not, to risk getting into a complete stranger’s car. Fortunately, his intentions were purely to save me from injury and deliver me home.
Surrendering control when you already feel helpless is hard, yet that is exactly what God requires of us.
I called upon these experiences when writing Stagecoach to Liberty, the third book in Montana Gold. Elsa, the heroine of this western historical romance, agrees to travel from Germany to the Wild West, where she will entertain with her music in Montana mining camps. But Elsa arrives in America with serious suspicions about her traveling companions, a brother and sister who treat her differently now she’s under contract. These worries magnify her alarm at being in a strange country.
Her deepest yearning is to return home, but that seems impossible. Bewildered and homesick, Elsa must learn to surrender control to God.
You can celebrate this season with a personal relationship with Jesus, and give the Lord of the Universe control of your life as well. You can trust Him!
If you’ve never opened God’s gift of salvation through Jesus (Rom 3:23, 6:23), please please please be persuaded to do it now! It’s simple. Just tell God from your heart that you admit you’re a sinner that needs a Savior (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:23) that you’re done running your own life, and that you’re ready to make Jesus Lord of your life.
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” (Rom 10:9-11)
The decision that saves you is that simple!
Simple… But no one said living it out will be easy. Especially now.
Janalyn Voigt fell in love with literature at an early age when her father read chapters from classics as bedtime stories. When Janalyn grew older, she put herself to sleep with tales “written” in her head.
Today Janalyn is a storyteller who writes in multiple genres. The same elements–romance, mystery, adventure, history, and whimsy–appear in all her novels in proportions dictated by their genre.
Learn more about Janalyn Voigt and the books she writes at http://janalynvoigt.com
Website for authors: http://livewritebreathe.com
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Janalyn-Voigt/e/B008CEX4P4
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