Off-ramps. We don’t take one unless we need to. At least, not intentionally. Traffic flows faster on the highway, and we have places to go and people to see.
Unless God takes the wheel.
God’s off-ramp to suffering takes many forms. Nit-picky annoyances that stack up like unpaid bills. Chronic illness. Interruptions that become long-term disruptions. The death of a spouse at the beginning of the empty-nest years.
In December 2017, I lost one of my best friends. Cancer. Round two. Nothing about her situation made sense. She’d been cleared in the early part of the year, but months later knew something wasn’t right. She was gone before Christmas.
I prayed. Many prayed.
When the cancer returned, she told me God had spoken to her, “I’ve got you.” Those words carried her through the suffering.
I cling to those words. God has purpose in the off-ramp. In the place we hadn’t planned to go. Yet, here we sit by the side of the road with a flat.
The author of Hebrews and Peter, in his first letter, have these words:
“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” Hebrews 5:7-8 NIV
“Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” 1 Peter 4:1-2
The off-ramps. The detours. The downtime. Suffering serves to refine us, to remind us, “I’ve got you,” and to draw us close.
Trust your Driver through the off-ramp of suffering.
Workout of the Week: The Off-Ramp
Memory Verse: “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” 1 Peter 4:1-2
Meditation Passage: John 10:27-30
Do it: Trust Your Driver.
Prayer Resources for February: Fervent by Priscilla Shirer