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I drove through a construction site yesterday, which is not unusual in Michigan where there are plenty of memes that joke about us having a season of pot holes in lieu of Spring, and a season of Construction in lieu of Summer.

But regardless of where you live, I know you know the scene: flashing temporary signage cautioning you miles in advance about the delay that looms ahead.  Big orange barrels eventually blocking a lane.  Machines all around that create a lot of dust and too much noise.  Men and women wearing hardhats, two of them assigned the task to stand in the road with a “STOP” sign on a stick they have to rotate 180 degrees to then display the “SLOW” sign at some time interval I’ve never been able to quite figure out.   And it never fails, a group of workers standing around seemingly doing nothing, while those of us in our cars grow increasingly frustrated that the project looks far from complete. 

Then it comes – a warning sign to manage driver’s expectations about how long they have to be delayed by this mess: “Construction for 2 miles.” 

But where was the sign that told drivers when the construction project will be finished?  Do we have to endure this chaos for days, months, or years?

I don’t know about you, but with me, there is a little bit of comfort that comes with knowing how long something will suck.

Just like this construction zone, I want to know when God will remove the barrels and heavy machinery and reopen the lane in my own life so that it can return to the way it was…you know, “normal.” 

And then I realized.

God can remove the heavy stuff in our life, but then it wouldn’t be improved.  Even if (like me) you think, “Yeh, but my road wasn’t even bad,” know that God saw something on or about your road that you didn’t.  He doesn’t want you to describe your road as just “ok.” No, He wants to bless you with a road you can describe as “ahhhhmazing.”

Isn’t the sacrifice of a little inconvenience and time always worth the end result that a fresh paved, widened road offers?  Isn’t it invigorating the minute your tires hit new concrete?  The drive becomes smoother, quieter, and simply more enjoyable, doesn’t it? 

Then once reopened, we forget how much we emotionally and mentally hated when it was closed.  We tend to look back and think: “I guess it wasn’t that bad.”

How long will the lane be blocked in our lives?  Unfortunately, we have no way to know.  Just like the construction workers can’t predict the number of weather delays that affects their ability to keep their schedule on target, we can’t forecast how long our life will stay in this sucky season. 

God leaves it up to us as to whether we learn the lessons He wants us to learn and whether we lean into Him, trust Him, and have our faith in Him supersede all other thoughts and emotions. 

Don’t rush through it. 

Let God mix your concrete with the proper amount of water (too little or too much will lead to problems!) and let Him take the time to ensure the weather conditions are perfect for pouring and curing your new foundation.  Shortcuts inevitably lead to more crumbly roads much sooner than necessary.  Shortcuts NEVER, EVER yield good results in the long run!

Don’t grow weary!  The struggles and delays we face are needed; they strengthen us for a future which we cannot see.  But He can!  And how we endure the struggle is a sign of our faith.  Do we have enough trust and confidence in Him that what He is doing is for our greater good?  We can assess that by assessing the sense of peace and calmness in our lives…

…despite our struggle,

…despite our tears,

…despite the unknown duration of “suck.”

If, in our core, we believe that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV), then our sleeves will be pushed up and we’ll spend time reading and meditating on His Word until we experience peace.  For Jesus tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5-7, NIV). 

So, just like scripture instructs us, while we wait, let’s pray to Him about what we want our lane to look like, feel like, and who we want to travel with.  He’s always listening, but are we always trusting?

Ask yourself: Would you rather stay on a road that God knows will eventually become impassable, or would you rather do the work and experience the delays that come along with transforming into something smoother and more enjoyable?

The next time you drive through a construction zone, I hope you use the idle time doing something productive, like expressing your gratitude to Jesus for seeing something on our about your road that you didn’t. 

Drive safe, friends!!  And remain patient!