We can do our best. We can be totally surrendered and open to God’s leading. We can pack and go when he sends us, where he sends us. We can get everything right, and still wind up broken and off course.
We interviewed at a church clear across the country. It would be a difficult move. We would be taking our small child really far away from all four of her loving grandparents as well as her cousins, who were her best friends! We would be leaving our friends, our families, our support, and our safety net. But felt right. We interviewed, and we visited, and we prayed, and it felt right. It wasn’t just that we’d accept if they called, but maybe they won’t so it’ll be okay. No. It felt right. That was where we were supposed to be. It didn’t feel perfect; it didn’t feel easy; but we were sure.
They weren’t, though. They decided to look for someone with more experience. Other people made big decisions that completely altered the course of our lives, that kept us from following where the Spirit lead.
We were crushed.
And it wasn’t the only time. And it wasn’t the most hurtful. And it wasn’t the most costly.
The good news is that the Spirit didn’t leave us. She didn’t go on without us. We didn’t find ourselves out in the cold trying to catch up as best we could, trying to head off the train at the pass and jump back on.
The Spirit continued to work with us. We were granted comfort, time to grieve, time to heal. We were led to friends who would walk through the brokenness with us and help us find the new path the Spirit was already making ready. We were surprised, more or less, but she was not.
Does that mean we were wrong about the path we were on to begin with? That we were only ever meant to go so far before rerouting?
No. I do not believe that any more than I believe God wanted me to lose my daughter. I believe the ‘right’ path, at that moment, would have been the one we were on. But here’s the thing, the first perfect path, that one up there that I shared? Yeah, had we stayed on that one, the new one would never have been an option. The real, true, perfect path was lost in the garden long ago, and God leaves us choice, allows us to make mistakes, to be wrong, and that means everyone. That means others get to make mistakes that affect us, just as we get to make poor choices that affect others in ways we may never know. But God is infinite and unbound by time. His is not going to be disrupted and confounded or need to take a time out to reconsider. He’s simply going to make another way that will, in it’s time, be the ‘right’ path.