I almost cried the first time I drove on the bypass. Seven minutes. It only took me six minutes to get from work south of town to Costco north of town. I love you, bypass.
That’s been some years now, since we went all big city up here in northern Montana, and now the next phase of that road project has begun. Two round-abouts are going to become overpasses and two lanes will turn into four, and it will be glorious.
But it’s not glorious right now.
Construction speed limits have taken my drive to school from 60 miles per hour to 35. “Be prepared to stop.”
Sidumpr trucks come and go, as bulldozers tear up the sides of the roads. Dirt covers the bypass, and it’s a mess.
“It’ll be two years,” Matt says. Two years? Ugh. Two years of dirt and waiting for the sign to change from STOP to SLOW. And we’ll be glad if we can at least move forward instead of sitting.
And that has been my life the last two months, three, wait, six, no maybe 13 months. Torn up. Bulldozers working overtime, from Covid to riots to hard stuff at church to relational strains to work challenges. Grass edges have been torn up by the roots, exposing raw earth, and all that was normal carried away to where?
I haven’t written much these days. Just sitting at STOP. Waiting to be able to move forward.
“You’ll write again,” Matt whispers to me when I drip tears about it all. “You’ll come out of this and write again.”
So here I am, and I know before you even respond that your life has felt the same as mine for a very, very long time. The specifics of your hard probably have a different name, but I know you’ve been feeling the familiar earth scraped away by heavy equipment, too.
Let me tell you what’s getting me through these days. It’s one little part of a verse from Romans 15:5, and I have been putting it over my nose like an oxygen breather. (I wrote about this verse a little while ago, but I haven’t moved past it, so here we are again.)
Paul says “the God who gives endurance and encouragement.” (NIV)
We have placed our lives in the hands of the God who gives these two things, and have we ever needed them more than right now? If you’re at a full STOP like me, you have time to sit and let these words soak in.
Lord, I pray. Lord, this is a hard road, and just about every day I hit times when I think I’m not going to make it. You have to give me what I need to make it. Help me stick out this tearing-up time of life.
Lord, I pray. Lord, I am discouraged. Just getting out of bed is taking herculean effort these days. I need some encouragement from you, and I need it soon. Now.
Here’s my story: he gives.
When I turn to the Father desperate and in pain from the latest hard thing, he hears my prayer and answers in the most amazingly personal ways.Just a few days ago I was agonizing over something, and I prayed for endurance and encouragement. Opened up my devotional book and read a wisdom there that–no joke–was tailor made for me in that moment and that circumstance. It helped me keep living forward.
So, it’s a simple word for us today. Our struggles might be a long construction job, but God will generously give us what we need to endure and be courageous in these times, if we are only bold enough to ask and keep asking, keep asking, keep asking.
Love you guys. Hugs to you in hard times.