Bypass To Nowhere

A hundred years ago Cheryl and I lived in Portland, Oregon for six of the best years of our life. While there, Cheryl’s brother and his wife lived in Seattle, Washington. It was our joy to visit them as often as we could. Seattle is big—really big—with massive freeways.

I saw the most startling sight while driving into Seattle one day. While surviving a fast moving freeway, I saw an exit ramp for a bypass that stopped in the middle of the sky. There were no indications that it was still under construction and it just stopped in mid-air. It was the bypass to nowhere.

A lot of ink has been poured into books about the will of God for our lives. Often there is great angst about living purposeful lives in the center of God’s will. God, it is assumed, has a specific, intentional plan for each person. In our culture, He doesn’t, it is implied, want us to be disabled or sick or poor or anything but successful or prosperous or happy.

Or does He? What I see is the usual call upon our lives is to walk—live—as faithful stewards (managers) of whatever He has already given, including gifts, abilities, opportunities, time, relationships (including singleness), and circumstances. Colossians 3:23 is penetrating: “Whatever you do…do…heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” (Matthew 25:21-23 does note faithfulness in the “whatevers”—the little things—can lead to greater kingdom service.) Here is the ultimate promise: Everything done for Christ matters now and soon at the time of our rewards at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).

I read the following story recently and it deeply touched me.

In a home for disabled children, Catherine was cared for for twenty years. Mentally disabled, she had never spoken a word. She only gazed quietly at the walls or made awkward movements. She did not respond to anything happening around her. She had serious medical problems, including one leg that had to be amputated. The staff were caring but quietly stated they wished God would take her home.

One day the doctor called the director to come quickly. Catherine was dying. When they entered her room, they could not believe their ears. Catherine was singing Christian hymns! Toward the end and with a transfigured face, for half an hour she repeated the German song, “Where does the soul find its fatherland, its rest?” She sang with a transfigured face, then she quietly passed away.

Who sang those songs in her presence?

And so, a gentle hug and simple prayer to Jesus matters for someone who has received bad news. Finding room in our life to talk about Jesus with a child is gold in heaven. Prized, hard-to-give-up time spent with God in the Scriptures and prayer feeds our soul or is, often, an offering only for the ears and heart of the Father and Son.

There are no bypasses to nowhere in God’s daily will for us.

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