God as tour guide

Beep, beep, beep! Vroom, vroom! Not the sounds of a NASCAR race but instead those of our minivan as we hurtle over crowded streets in the Dominican Republic. I swallow hard and pull my hat lower over my eyes so that I can't see the people and animals and other vehicles whizzing past.

We are on our honeymoon and life in the Dominican Republic is a mixture of hard and soft, luxury and poverty. Our resort, while beautiful, is sheltered and feels fake. We want to experience the real way of life here, which is why we sign up for tours led by a local man. We explore the countryside on "funny bikes" (4-wheelers) and eat in a restaurant with dirt floors. We travel to Santo Domingo, the capital city, by bus and visit a beautiful cathedral. We go snorkeling on an island with crystal clear water and white fish that dart in and out of the waves.

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This morning is cold and dark and rainy. I go out for a walk before sky turns gray, stumbling in the dark on the broken sidewalk. I just spent time in contemplative prayer--a new practice--and I feel such peace and joy in my heart. For years, I have worried that I'd never find this peace again. Not because my life has been so difficult, but because I have a dream that hasn't yet been realized.

I was called to write--that I know for sure--yet the success that I was hoping for has never materialized. I've spent months asking the same questions: "what am I doing wrong?" and "did I not truly hear this call?" and "what am I missing?"

Swish, swish, swish. My rain jacket and the sound of my feet periodically sending pebbles flying are the only sounds this morning. My attitude has changed in these last few weeks. It's not that I've become a sainted martyr, eager to endure more months of unknowing. Rather, it's that I'm learning, however slowly and delicately to trust that God knows what is best for me. To rest in him rather than frantically try to hurry his hand. To focus on what I can control--what I focus on, where I put my belief--and not so often on what I can't.

As I turn the corner to come home, I think of that long-ago trip and the tour guide who knew exactly where we were going and how to get us there. I didn't spend the entire trip questioning him, perched over his shoulder in the minivan asking, "are you sure this is the way?" I didn't follow our progression on a map even, to see where we were.

I trusted. We agreed on the desination. He knew how to get us there so my only job was to sit back and relax. Or at least, to try not to have a panic attack when we swerved perilously close to the edges of the road.

Can I do the same with God? I know where I'm headed and have a general idea how I might get there, but he has the map. Can I be okay with allowing him to lead and not peeking over his shoulder trying to get glimpses of the route? Can I allow him to do his job and relax, knowing that he knows the way?

Yes, I think that finally I can.


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