Traveling an unfamiliar stretch road to pick up the worlds most amazing bratwurst for my husband’s birthday (a fact completely irrelevant to the story, but these brats are too good not to share with all of you), I drove south. I noticed evidence of the recent flooding*. I passed nondescript farm places and a typical Iowa countryside. Lovely. But, really, nothing out of the ordinary for our pastoral landscape.
I reached my destination, retrieved the brats and headed back.
Traveling the same road I’d been on only 10 minutes before, but now heading north, the landscape seemed different. Hills rose and fell, like and an old man sleeping on a sofa snoring away. The river still spilled over it’s banks in a beautiful swell. I witnessed a herd of goats running and playing and jumping up a hill. Old barns and beautiful farmsteads captivated me. Crevices, valleys, ridges and winding side roads seemed to hold unknown adventures and beckoned my now-wide-awake-heart. Was this really the same road that I’d just traveled only moments before? Indeed, it was. Gone was the typical average Iowa country road. Before me lay beauty and mystery and refreshment.
Perspective is everything isn’t it? One minute I’m traveling along, minding my own business with brats and birthdays on my mind and the next, I’m transported through soft beauty that yielded a soul-rest.
But here’s the thing, I didn’t try to change my perspective and there wasn’t anything wrong with what I saw driving south. I didn’t have a bad attitude or wrong perspective. I wasn’t being negative or tuning out beauty. I really wasn’t. I was just driving and taking in the scenery, like I usually do. It’s the road I was on and the direction I needed to be going. It wasn’t bad or wrong it’s just where I needed to be at that moment of my journey toward brat-bliss. Then, on the way home, I was simply going the direction I needed to go. I didn’t ask to see anything different or seek a scenic route or try to take in views less-typical. I also didn’t change my attitude or focus because there wasn’t anything wrong with it in the first place. My perspective changed simply because of the direction I had to travel to get home.
It’s true, sometimes we need an attitude adjustment or a course change. Sometimes, for me at least, I need a loving metaphorical face-slap to snap out of a crappy attitude or negative perspective. And sometimes, we are headed down a dangerous path and a full-blown intervention is necessary to put us back on the best path. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.
I believe there are times when we’re on the path we’re meant to be on and it’s mundane and uneventful and frankly, drudgery. And that’s ok. Oswald Chambers wrote over a hundred years ago:
We have a tendency to look for wonder in our experience, and we mistake heroic actions for real heroes. It’s one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, and no one paying even the remotest attention to us. If we are not looking for halos, we at least want something that will make people say, “What a wonderful man of prayer he is!” or, “What a great woman of devotion she is!” If you are properly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the lofty height where no one would ever notice you personally. All that is noticed is the power of God coming through you all the time. [emphasis mine]
So where ever you find yourself today, whatever road God has you on– whether on a road of beauty and magical wonder and delight or the cold, hard pavement of a difficult circumstance or simply the path of day in-day out life in grace–may you rest in God’s provision and care and know that He will provide soul-rest and refreshment when you most need and usually least expect it.
*written at the end of May when there really was flooding