Chris pulled the emergency break and the car came to a halt, smoke suddenly rising up from the front wheels. This didn’t seem good. We had only been on this steep, winding road for about 15 minutes and had at least half an hour to go. This seemed to be the road-less-traveled, we hadn’t seen another car since we turned onto it. Not to mention, we were just four girls prepared for a short hike and sleepover in a cabin, not for overnight outdoor survival!
We started making calls that didn’t seem to provide many answers and I began to wonder if we would make it to our desired destination, Pu Chi Fa mountain-top, in time for the sunset, or if we would make it there that night at all. However, we happened to be stopped right on a curve where the trees and underbrush parted and there was a plateau of land on the side of the road that looked out over the rolling green mountains.
It was a fairly-tale kind of view, one that makes you dream of partaking in epic adventures and of settling in that one place, soaking in it’s beauty for all time. We were stuck in the tension of wanting resolution to our problem, desiring to reach our destination; and reveling in the beauty and suspense of the moment.
The funny thing is that we had passed a view-point just minutes before and had opted out of stopping. Now the stop was inevitable and it appeared we might be here looking at this view for a while.
Not often in life do we choose delays. Not often do we choose to be halted in our journey to the fulfillment of our vision, but sometimes it just happens. I think that at times we get so consumed with seeing the promises come to pass, or in seeing the finished work, that we lose opportunities to take part in valuable seasons on the way. We get so frustrated by delayed treasures that we don’t treasure the delays.
As we await the vision, as we go through processes, we can be consumed by JOY. As we approach delays, we can allow them to add value to the destination instead of discouraging us from reaching it. I love how Romans 8:22-25 is worded in the Message version:
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
“The more joyful our expectancy.” We can not only enjoy the delays we face in our journey, but they can even add to the beauty and joy of reaching our end goal.
A friend of mine shared a vision she had of me at the beginning of this season of training I’m in. She saw me walking on a path to a destination and every so often I would stop by the side of the trail and start digging in the mud. I would get muddy and dirty but I would dig up a shining gem, that I would then put it on myself. It would make me radiate glimmering light. I would do this over and over, adding each gem to myself. These stops on the side of the path began to redefine me.
I’ve been learning how to not only walk through the processes God brings me through, but how to treasure them. I’m learning to not just “grin and bear it” but to pull out all the wisdom, beauty, relationships, depth, joy, and growth that comes with each detour and delay.
We ended up making it to Pu Chi Fa that night and we didn’t get to see the sunset from the peak, but the experience we enjoyed together brought so much more. In the morning we watched the sunrise from the mountain top and it was even more glorious then I imagined. The glory of the destination we reached didn’t diminish from the process of getting there, but it was enriched.
He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
Romans 8:28 MSG