The Waze of Jesus…

This morning as we left the house for school, I was determined to make it in record time.  Due to the recent flooding in our area, our morning commute had increased dramatically.  I’ve had the Waze app on my phone for some time now, but have only been using it for trips into downtown Houston, (because attempting to drive into that without help is downright scary).

When I typed in the address of the school, Waze reassured me it could lead us there in 35 minutes.  (The day before, it took us an hour and a half).  The kids and I laughed.

“Do you think it will work, Mom?”

“If this works, it will be a miracle from Jesus.”, I said.

So off we went.

If you’ve ever used Waze, you soon learn that it requires an incredible amount of trust.  It will send you in the opposite direction, down dark alley ways, through someone’s backyard, and then ask you at the drop of a hat to turn around and retrace your tracks.  But any user of the app will tell you, “you’ve got to just trust the wisdom of Waze”.

See, the app keeps track of traffic, accidents, inoperable lights…all of it.  Plus, it knows how fast you and other Waze users are moving.  So, in an instant, it knows when changes occur.  Immediately, it calculates when changing your route all together is time-efficient. And sometimes, it sends you in the opposite direction to have you arrive at your final destination faster.

This morning, Waze led us through small winding streets, on the Hwy headed south (when ultimately we wanted to go north), and zig-zagging neighborhoods I didn’t even know existed.

As we turned off one little street onto the next, we suddenly saw it: yard after yard filled with rolled up carpet, dismantled wood flooring, piles of sheetrock, and couches stacked upon one another.  Kids were waiting in their front yards for the school bus next to piles of destroyed belongings.

It took us by surprise.

The car fell silent.

All the air was sucked into our lungs by our gasps.

Eventually, someone broke the quiet.

“I wish we could do something.”

Suddenly, our commuting challenges of the past few days didn’t matter.  The unacknowledged rains of last night (the ones we slept through), now seemed cruel and  senseless.

“Kids, if it hadn’t been for Waze, I wouldn’t have even known this was back here.”

“Maybe Jesus is in Waze, Mom.”

Maybe.  I don’t think He is literally living in the phone app.  However, I think Jesus absolutely used Waze this morning to guide us down a path of humility, compassion, and gratitude…the ways of Jesus.

As we continued to follow the directions offered by my phone, we saw house after house, family after family in need.  We discussed plans to come back after school, maybe toting pizzas, or cleaning supplies, or just prayers and consolation.  The kids were no longer arguing about who ate the last breakfast bar or debating whose fault it was that we left 10 minutes late that morning.  Our hearts had been shifted.  Our perspective had been flipped.  My words came back to me: “If this works, it will be a miracle from Jesus.”

Jesus, in all His ways, miraculously turns our selfish hearts outwards towards others.Tweet: Jesus, in all His ways, miraculously turns our selfish hearts outwards towards others. #WAZEofJesus  The Holy Spirit guides us down paths previously unseen.Tweet: The Holy Spirit guides us down paths previously unseen. #WAZEofJesus

But if we don’t trust Him, in all His seemingly awkward and backwards-pointing directions, we just might miss the opportunity for a dramatic change of heart.  We might miss the hurting and the broken.  We might miss a whole world of opportunity to serve as the Church.

When we don’t trust His promptings, we find ourselves taking our route back into our own tight-gripped hands, only to be frustratingly locked in a spiritual stand still.Tweet: We find ourselves taking our route into our own tight-gripped hands,only to be frustratingly locked in spiritual stand still #theWAZEofJesus

Think of Noah.  Think of Jonah.  Think of Lot.  Think of Jesus!  “Go towards the cross…”, even when Jesus asked the Father for a different way.

Lately, I’ve been feeling the prompting of the Holy Spirit to act in specific ways–to head in a specific direction.  But I’ve been putting action off, straight-up ignoring His voice, and allowing myself to be distracted by the selfish conveniences of life.  Today’s little adventure to school not only filled our car with compassion, launching us into a plan for service, but it also helped fix my eyes on Jesus…His voice, His direction, and His ways.

(And we got to school in 35 minutes.)

“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths” (Psalm 25:4).Tweet:

 

rain, rain, go away…

The rain here in Houston just keeps coming.  Yesterday, school was cancelled as sections of major highways were submerged in water.  My children spent the morning wanting to watch the news.  They were enthralled by the extreme nature and power of the water, the drama of high-water rescues caught on tape, the tragedy of cars being swept away in the floods, and the science of meteorological forecasts.  Our hearts ache for those in Wimberley, San Marcos, and Houston.  Those who have lost much in the wake of such abundant rainfall.

This morning, a sideways downpour met us as we raced to the car for school.  It’s ironic that yesterday when multiple school districts were closed, we had dry patches of back porch.  This morning, as we drove to school, we were pelted by torrential rains.

How odd is the abundance of a good thing.  Rain becomes flood.  Hydration becomes destruction.  Sugar turns to fat.  Wine becomes alcoholism.  Appetite shifts to gluttony.  Money fuels greed.  Job provision develops into family neglect.  Ministry births idolatry.

How odd also when the abundance of a good thing has been present, yet the back porch seems dry.  There have been entire seasons when others around me are drowning in the same blessings being poured out on me, yet all I see is dry bones.  Perception can be quite the deception.  Have you ever been so blind to a plethora of grace-filled showers that you actually pray for the rain to go away?  We, who are so small compared to the vastness of the universe and the Being who by a single word bore all we know and see…we who think we know, but have no clue.  We think we can define blessing and curse, based on the wisdom drawn from the state of our comforts or the lack thereof.  What if that which was brutally irritating provided a path to the deepest peace?  What if that which depleted earthly provision sanctified and produced the fullest satisfaction?

I’ve written before of God’s abundant grace and how we never arrive at a place where we render it useless.  It is free, unending, and always available, whether we seek it out or not.  We are covered by its huge umbrella of acceptance, that knows no distinction and can’t be held by our good works.  This I know.  However, as I mentioned above, there is so much that I do not know, understand, or comprehend.  If there is one thing that I will never have enough of, it’s God’s perspective.  It is the one thing that won’t turn in on itself:  Godly wisdom.  For to see the world and our circumstances through God’s eyes requires humility, compassion, justice, and a servant heart.  Idolatry defies God’s perspective.  He detests the worship of anything other than Himself.

I want this: His perspective.  With it, there is nothing to fear, nothing to solve, nothing that can steal my joy or His throne.  How do I find it?  Unlike grace, Scripture tells me that wisdom requires a bit of my action:

“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding” (Proverbs 3:13).

“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight” (Proverbs 4:7).

The Hebrew word “qə·nêh” is used in these verses for “get”.  The same word is used when Scripture talks about buying or acquiring land.  It is a word of action, involving sacrifice or payment.  Do I really want to “get” wisdom?  What if it costs something of sacrifice?  What if it’s price is uncomfortable?

Proverbs 9:10 also explains that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”  Maybe today the price to be paid is accepting the fact that I am small, finite, and foolish compared to the size, longevity, and wisdom of God.  Maybe today, I simply stand in awe of Him, this world He created, the power of the raging water before me.  In recognizing my smallness and His largeness, I will begin to “get” some wisdom with the sacrifice of my pride.

I want to shout, “rain, rain, go away…”.  Yet, I will watch in awe, and submit that I don’t know the condition and needs of my own back porch.  And I will let Jesus and His compassion overtake me as I see the needs of others unfold.

I continue to pray for those who are meeting disaster and destruction head on.  Please pray with me.  If you are able to financially help or donate goods, please visit ADRN (Austin Disaster Relief Network) which is gathering funds to help those in Wimberley and San Marcos, not only with their physical needs, but spiritual and emotional as well.