As You Like It

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”       Colossians 1:15-17

I heard a story this summer about a mountain road in Washington that was notorious for fatal car accidents. The road had sharp curves and steep hills and most cars that went off the pavement usually resulted in a fatality. After a number of complaints about the safety of this road, the Washington state government began to look into it. They took the data of accidents on that road and compared it to a road in Arizona. This road used for comparison was several miles outside of Phoenix and was about as straight and as flat as roads come. But the investigation turned up some interesting results; there were actually more accidents and even more fatalities on the flat road than on the road with twists and turns.

I will be the first to admit, I’m a perfectionist. Twists and turns do not work so well for me. I need to plan things out so that I know what is going to happen and when. And when all is said and done, I like the final product (be it a project for school or a day with my friends) to come out…well, perfect. You know what I mean? A professional quality, a Kodak moment, exactly the way I pictured it.

Do you ever plan and map out your “perfect world” only to find that “perfect” isn’t so great; that when you get exactly what you want, it isn’t what you want?

Upon further investigation, it was revealed that the road in Arizona had more accidents because people would fall asleep on the flat terrain and drive off the road. The road in Washington had so many twists and turns that people were focused on driving and stayed awake. Even though most accidents on the Washington road were fatal, they were far less frequent.

This road is an interesting parable for life. We often complain about the twist and turns in our lives. When our plan is thrown off course, we fear we will lose control. But the reality is, it is the twists and turns in life that keep us focusing on what is really important. Sometimes we need a curve in life to wake us up and get us back on course.

As a few of my best laid plans have unraveled this summer, I’ve been pondering the text of Colossians 1:15-17. The line that resonates with me the most is that last phrase, “in Him all things hold together.” When my plans are falling apart, these words are of great comfort to me. They remind me that in the end, God is the one holding me together. Nothing I can plan, no one I hold onto, none of the plans or ideas I invent can get me through the twists and turns like God. In the end, God is all that I need.

And the funny thing is, I seem to forget that when my road is running straight. As long as my plan comes together, I live and act as though I can do it alone. It’s in the twists and turns that I’m reminded of God’s presence and eternal love.

In closing I’d like to share a quote with you that I received in an email this week. The author was unknown.

“Prayer is not a spare wheel that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a steering wheel that directs the right path throughout. This is why a car's windshield is so large and the rear view mirror is so small: because your past is not as important as your future. So, look ahead and move on.”

I pray that if your life is twisting and turning right now, that you remember that any plan you can make pales in comparison to God’s dream for your life; that you may know that God has big things in store for you and that he will hold you together through every obstacle you encounter.

Zach Herzog

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