|Posted on October 21, 2009 at 12:57 PM|
What happens when we ignore the path God lays out before us and choose to go our own way instead? The Bible says: There is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof is death. Well…death, biblically, can be defined in many ways, one of which is a separation from God. But the possibility of actual, physical death is Oh So Real.
Not long ago my daughter and I bumped into one of her childhood friends. As they traded acceptance success stories he excitedly described his upcoming move-in plans for a small college somewhere near Ohio State in Columbus.
“Oh I already put in a transfer to Ohio State,” my daughter decided to drop her own newsflash.
“Over my dead body,” came my curt reply. “You mean you’d throw away $27,000 worth of financial aide and the chance to attend a Top Ten Business program to go to Ohio State and party???!!!”
Like all good teenagers everywhere, my daughter shut down and stopped speaking to me. “Cause that’s what Ohio State is,” I carried on, “a Party School, and God Already Said that wasn’t where He wanted you to go.”
You see…my daughter has wanted to attend Ohio State since before she graduated last June. That’s where her girlfriend was going. However…God obviously had other plans. While she waited and waited for word from Ohio State, Xavier University was quietly courting her. Based on her ACT scores, they were prepared to offer her a financial aide package that would pay for the vast majority of their (I thought at the time) ridiculously expensive tuition. With the acceptance deadline for the Xavier offer fast approaching and still no word from Ohio State, my daughter reluctantly agreed to go with Xavier. When we found out just what type of school Xavier, and by contrast Ohio State really was, all I could feel was Blessed. I was under the impression that my daughter felt blessed too, or at least understood why God didn’t want her at Ohio State.
Knowing I couldn’t force her to do anything, even if I wanted to (alright: I did), I discussed it at my next Women’s Ministry meeting. Although it was hard for me to Let Go & Let God, I trusted that God would handle the situation.
The very next week, I got a call during Women’s Ministry from a Columbus area code. Not recognizing the number I disregarded it, vowing to check my voicemail when the meeting was over. As soon as I put the phone away it began ringing again, this time it was my son. Now my rule is: if somebody isn’t dying or the house isn’t on fire, don’t call me at church. But since I left my son home sleeping I answered it, figuring maybe he woke up and got worried.
“Sissy had a car accident,” he frantically informed me.
Sissy was in…Columbus.
Since she was only helping her friend with Early Move In, I figured there was no harm in letting her go, but What Had Happened Was…Some lady ran the red light and broadsided the car she was in. The car flipped onto its side; asleep in the back seat, Sissy was thrown against the window, which shattered. She awoke to find herself sliding across the pavement on her back. I tried calling her back yet got no response. Powerless to do anything more than wait for word, I went on to my monthly church meeting where we prayed for Sissy and the other two girls in the car with her.
The hospital released Sissy later that evening. The seat belt was the only thing that kept her from being tossed through the broken window, which most certainly would have resulted in her death. As it was, Sissy ended up with some serious road rash, and nothing more. Her girlfriend in the front seat escaped with a few Bumps & Bruises; the girl who was driving wasn’t so lucky. She had to be extricated from the car and lost three fingers, which were later reattached. In church, Sissy, her girlfriend and I took three Victory Laps around the sanctuary; grateful to God they were okay.
“I guess she got the message about Columbus,” someone said to me.
Yeah…I Thought So Too, except…she didn’t.
“It was an accident,” Sissy insisted. “It could have happened anywhere.”
Why is she so hardheaded??? I asked myself. Can’t she see the signs???
Then, like a flash, it hit me.
God had been after me to quit my job for months. Months. And yet: I kept coming up with excuses for why I couldn’t. Number one was…I’d gotten used to the paycheck.
I didn’t want to be broke again, and I told God that. He reminded me that for five years, He’s Made A Way when all we had was SSI. It wasn’t easy, and sometimes it wasn’t pretty, but each and every month we made it from the First to the Thirty-first when our bills were always at least twice what our income was. I remembered those times, and while I am eternally grateful to God for His provision, I just didn’t want to Go There again. So instead of quitting, I Held On.
And developed headaches.
And bursitis in both my shoulders.
Finally, my blood pressure started climbing. On Monday at the doctor’s it was 148/100. After work the next day, at my eye exam, it hit 156/105. 160/110 is Stroke Level.
“Are you stressed?” the assistant asked me.
“Yes,” I replied. “Somehow I forgot that God is In Control and Not Me.”
I decided I was quitting for real; stayed home all day Wednesday. Come Thursday morning however…I was on my way out the door.
“You going back to work?!” Sissy asked angrily. “I thought you to quit! That job is gonna kill you, can’t you see that???”
Can’t. You see. That.
Sometimes we can’t.
Sometimes…we can’t (or won’t) listen to God when He tells us not to do certain things because…we want them too badly. But everything we want ain’t for us. It ain’t even good for us. And sometimes, ignoring God when He tells us not to do something sets us on the road that ultimately leads to…
Not everyone gets a second chance, but even if you do:
Is it really worth it?
Cause I've never been sorry I listened to God, but I have been sorry I didn't.