It’s a little disconcerting when you realize that you cannot know what your future holds. You can make all your plans and sketch out what type of path will get you there. But when you strip away all the “I wish” and the “I hope” plans, you will have to admit that you don’t have much to hold onto. You will find only one thing that is left to you and that is the love of God. I can’t tell you what will happen tomorrow, but I can tell you that I will be loved by God. I know and trust that every path His love leads me down is meant to eventually bring me back home.
In Ron Howard’s classic movie “Apollo 13”, the space capsule hurtling three astronauts to the moon suffers a crippling explosion. NASA is forced to come up with a new plan to bring what’s left of the capsule and the astronauts back home before they run out of power. The movie is an incredible testament to courage and man’s ingenuity under duress. Yet in the middle of the nail-biting action, the director inserts a newsreel flashback in which Apollo Captain Jim Lovell recalls his days flying planes during WWII. He recounts an incident where he is flying over the sea of Japan at night. His electrical equipment shorts out and the plane is dangerously low on fuel. In preparation to ditch the plane at sea, he turns off the emergency lights. As the cockpit goes dark, the sea beneath him seems to light up. It takes him a moment to understand what he is seeing. There is a huge cloud of fluorescent algae near the surface of the water. He knows that this type of algae is routinely stirred up in the wake of a large ship when it passes by. As he follows the trail of algae, he realizes that the large ship is indeed the aircraft carrier that he had originally been heading for and had lost hope of finding without his equipment. Had he not turned off the lights, he would never had caught the faint glowing trail in the sea below. Captain Lovell ends the interview by saying, “So you never know what events will transpire to get you home.”
Though I cannot see the path that God has laid for me, I know that the path is there. There will be those scary times when I will have to turn of my emergency lights, all those earthly things that we rely on for guidance, just to see God’s next heavenly step. There are those times when you have to let go of the things that are safe and sensible to follow His directions. Lovell’s act of desperation and plan to jump from the plane actually helped him to see a trail that would eventually bring him home. I can’t help but wonder what leaps of faith that God will ask of me? There have been quite a few already. They didn’t make much sense at the time, but looking back I can see how much I learned and grew from each experience.
I may not know how God will get me to my heavenly home, but I can honestly say that in every twist and turn of the path, I have felt His presence. Sometimes as a strong guiding hand, sometimes just a dim flicker as I panicked and ran from Him. My path thus far, has had times of wild adventure followed by quiet stretches meant for rest and rebuilding. I have felt the frustration of being in a holding pattern when I am forced to wait for Him to open the next door. This is especially painful for those of us who struggle with that virtue of patience. But I can see that had I rushed in, I wouldn’t have been as prepared for the ordeal that lay ahead as I was when I stayed within God’s plan. And for those times when I did rush ahead……well, you can guess.
God is really very straight forward with us. He loves and tell us to love and therein lies His plan. The thing that is so wonderful about God’s plans is the central idea that He does love us despite our best efforts. His plan for us is simply to bring us home to Himself. How incredible, how gracious, how amazing! So I will keep trying to turn off the distracting emergency lights that flash in my face each day and try to follow the quiet, little trail stirred up by a big God who goes before me and whose ultimate goal is simply to bring me safely home.