There is a saying in Minnesota—where CIF is headquartered—that there really are only two seasons: winter and road construction. I experience this firsthand as I drive to work each day. There are several construction zones along the way, with signs that alert me to what’s ahead: “Road Closed,” “Ramp Closed,” “Left Two Lanes Closed Ahead,” “Detour Ahead,” “Lanes Narrow,” “No Shoulder,” just to name a few.
If I’m honest, there are times when I become frustrated and discouraged when I see these signs, because they often mean that it’s going to take me longer to get to my destination.
How about you? Say for example you had taken time off work for vacation and that you were going to go on a road trip. You plan your route and plug the destination into the GPS. It tells you precisely each road to travel, turn to make and exactly how long it will take to get there.
You start researching all of the sites you plan to visit along the way: landmarks, restaurants, hotels, activities, etc. Once you’ve got a plan and reservations made, it’s time to embark.
What if part way into your journey, you encounter some of those road construction signs, and you watch the arrival time on your GPS increase substantially? Or worse, you are detoured to a different path that doesn’t allow you to see the sites you wanted to see or enjoy the activities you wanted to experience?
Would you feel discouraged or frustrated? Most likely.
I think feeling a bit of disappointment is normal. But the key is what you do when you feel that disappointment or discouragement or frustration.
Take my ride into work for an example. Do I turn around and go home because there is road construction ahead? Do I quit on my journey because it may take me longer to get to my destination? The answer is no.
Or how about the road trip example? Do you turn around and go home because the route you planned wasn’t exactly how it played out? Do you quit the journey and cancel your vacation because the current reality isn’t how you envisioned it? Probably not.
So, what do we do? First, we must accept the current reality. And if we want to succeed, then we must adapt.
I’ve used this simple road construction illustration to parallel our current situation with COVID-19. Let me relate the various road construction signs I see on my daily drive and translate them to the pandemic.
Instead of seeing “Road Closed Ahead,” I see a sign that says, “Mandatory Mask Requirement.” Or with “Ramp Closed Ahead,” I see “You Must Socially Distance.” For “No Shoulder,” I see “All Meetings Are Virtual.” Or for “Lanes Narrow,” I see “You Must Quarantine.”
The parallels aren’t really that different. Quitting the journey or returning to a previous state isn’t an option. As followers of Christ, we must adapt our strategy and plans to the reality of the road. It may take longer, or the journey may not be as we had planned; however, the current road—be it the COVID-19 road—is our situation.
God calls us to step out in faith … to “not be dismayed or discouraged” (Joshua 1:9), but in all things we must acknowledge Him, and He will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). Even the path of COVID-19. He will make closed roads open; He will make narrow lanes wider, He will take us on a detour that only He can take us on.
The Bible tells us: “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and I will help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
So, be encouraged! As 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we live by faith and not by sight.” We must continue to press onward, committing to drive toward our destination, never turning back or quitting; but obediently accepting any and all detours, construction zones and time constraints along the way.
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