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Detour Ahead

August 5th, 2008

Focus Text: Philippians 1: 6 (NLT)

 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

I write to you briefly from the obstacle course that is National Fine Arts with a singular reflection.  The trip has been great so far; however, there have been a few unexpected snags.

They began when we hit Knoxville and learned that there was a huge construction detour that was causing people to sit in traffic for hours on end.  That just wouldn’t do and being the Knoxville expert that I am, we rerouted ourselves around and about to avoid the congestion.  

The next hiccup has been the fact that apparently, Charlotte is doubling in size before our very eyes! Construction abounds as plentiful as the dirty air that surrounds the equipment.  Hard hats are high fashion and work boots are the standard foot attire for native Charlottarians (yeah, that’s definitely my own little lexicon construction project.)  Skyscrapers grow faster than crabgrass and the only thing missing from the “Gotham-esque” skyscape of the city is a big Batman spotlight.

Put it this way, First Street should run directly from our hotel to the Convention Center.  Enter the dreaded construction project and . . . whamo . . . First Street is completly closed off and I’m fenagling thirty-five teenagers through alternate routes, narrow sidewalks, and frustrating intersections.

Alternate routes: the scourge of our being!  All of us like revitalization and an attractive and green-friendly downtown ethos; but none of us want to be rerouted during construction.  I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to be at the front of the human caravan when it becomes yet again necessary to cross to the other side of the street because the sidewalk is closed due to construction.  It’s just plain inconvenient.

Convenience is important, you know.  Without it, well we’re just straight cranky.  However, most times we don’t stop to think about two items of construction profundity.  One is that the very roads, buildings, and routes that we currently access everyday were once under construction themselves.  Construction is necessary for the possibility of effective existence to occur.  There is no magic wand of building– a season of inconvenience must happen if we’re to build successfully.  As we drive cursing the construction zone, we sit still in the same spot that someone once cursed some many years ago when the way was being paved for us.  

Secondly, construction is good!  It means that a city is growing– that its citizens are initiating improvement and creating an environment that is safe and appealing.  We just often miss the forest for the huge dust cloud.

If you were a city and someone drove into your life, would they need to be rerouted because of the excessive improvements that were being made to the buildings, streets, and landscapes of your soul? That’s my existence!  I daily sit in “bumper to bumper” traffic amidst the messy process of building and revitalization that God is “contracting” in students’ lives.  As Philippians says, He’s began the project and it will someday be complete.  I can sit and complain and honk and call my congressman all day long, but that won’t change a thing.  Patient endurance and the perspective to recognize someone else’s (or our own) current building projects should make the wait not only bearable, but also enjoyable.  Hey, they may not be visible yet, but I know what’s on the horizon and I know that what I’m waiting for will be worth every second of this spiritual gridlock.

I just pray that we take time to appreciate the mess and to patiently endure the detour because at the heart of its existence is the evidence that we are growing and that someday, driving through our “streets” will reveal the masterful handiwork of the eternal Architect.

So grab your jackhammers and let’s get to work– we’ve got skyscrapers to construct . . . spiritually, of course.


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