Walking Our Faith: Lessons on a life under construction
Walking Our Faith
I’ve watched the construction of the intersection at Colorado Highway 9 and Frisco’s Main Street and the nearby new roundabout as I drive to work on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from my home in Blue River.
From the perch of my dependable 2012 Yukon, I’ve considered every twist and turn as the roundabout was constructed and the new intersection lines were drawn.
Quite honestly, there were times when I thought their measurements surely must be wrong because I didn’t see how two lanes of traffic were going to fit in the roundabout or how I was going to turn from Highway 9 onto Main Street without blocking the other two lanes of traffic in this busy intersection.
But after 8 a.m. Mass at Saint Mary’s on Tuesday, I headed to work. I went through the roundabout with another car at my side, and there was plenty of room for both of us. When I arrived at the traffic light, I discovered they had extended the length of the turn lane so there would be room for plenty of cars.
It occurred to me that not only did the road engineers not need my help, but they could see the result of this construction project when I could not. I had not needed to be worried all those months.
Simultaneously, it occurred to me that this was a very fitting analogy for what my prayer life can feel like.
For the second month since her arrival from Florida to live with me, Mom is still sleeping on the living room couch of my apartment. I have two bedrooms upstairs, but her legs will no longer climb stairs, and with the arrival of my international student, we now need three bedrooms. Our search for a wheelchair accessible home with a main floor bedroom has not been fruitful. But every day I search the real estate app on my phone and send up prayers.
The lack of answers is discouraging. When I get up at 6:30 in the morning to make breakfast for my international student, I walk by Mom asleep on the couch as I head to the kitchen, and I wish she would not have to be disturbed by my activities. I wish she could sleep on a real bed in a real bedroom.
I get frustrated with myself for not being able to do more, for not being able to provide for her needs, for running this race and never catching up.
I believe that’s the danger of unanswered prayer. Our frustration grows, and we either blame God for his silence or ourselves for our inadequacies.
Like my daily observation of the Frisco construction project, we see the incremental changes, not the careful plans and measurements.
If you’re like me, you may begin reciting Bible verses to yourself. Promises such as Jeremiah 29:11 in which God promises that he knows the plan he has for us, plans to give us a future and a hope.
But it’s difficult to hold on to hope when life is under construction and you seriously believe that the great engineer has gotten the measurements wrong. And why weren’t you consulted on how things should be?
Instead, I remind myself of all the times that God did eventually answer my prayers and his plans were better than mine and never too late.
What to do in the interim? I want you to know that it’s OK to feel discouraged. I do right now. But I also believe we need to keep moving forward and doing the best we can with what we have. And we need to give ourselves grace when it feels like our efforts are not enough. We need to trust that our prayers will be answered in the right time, in the right way, and that God’s plans are far better than ours.
“In God alone is my soul at rest; my help comes from him. He alone is my rock, my stronghold, my fortress: I stand firm. …
“In God is my safety and glory, the rock of my strength. Take refuge in God all you people. Trust him at all times. Pour out your hearts before him for God is our refuge.” — Psalm 62:5-8
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking Our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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