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Category: Faith

What I Cannot See

December 19, 2023

I was standing in my kitchen cooking dinner when I got a call from my son who was driving home on his own from visiting family in another state. It’s an eight hour drive in good weather. I’ve made that journey several times. He has done it a few times as a driver, but not recently, and never in the bad weather he was encountering. He’s not a child, this giant of a young man, but he was in an unfamiliar place in the dark and surrounded by fog. His Maps settings had rerouted him on the “most fuel efficient” path, and he was inexperienced enough to not know that the software wasn’t taking him the fastest or safest way home. Instead of staying on the interstate then turning onto the well maintained and relatively straight state highway, he was traveling on a scenic over-the-mountain winding road he had never driven before. His tire pressure light came on. The car he was driving was also not the most reliable car on the road. So he called his mom. 

My unmarried children share their locations with me, and I can see where they are or where they were when they last had service when I open the app on my phone. So I did that. I didn’t understand why he was where he was until we figured out what had happened with being rerouted. I tried to help him find a gas station to check the air in his tires, but on this remote path, the closest gas station meant turning away from home, and adding time to the needed travel. But he was worried and needed a pit stop, so he took the turn. Funny thing about gas stations in remote towns, they close much earlier than those in more populated areas. They also didn’t have an air pump. So he retraced his path and headed in the direction of home. He wanted me to stay on the phone with him while he drove. I told him I would talk with him as long as we could, but I knew there was no cell reception where he was heading. I gave him advice about driving safely and encouragement that he would be able to make it before our call was dropped. Then I prayed and waited. 

“Praying and waiting” seems to be a frequent posture or status in life. So many times I feel like my son did, traveling through unfamiliar circumstances or not being where I had expected to be with the path ahead shrouded in mystery, darkness, and fog. I call out to God for guidance, He helps me along, I make a turn toward where I think I should find help only to have to turn back around. Sometimes, I can draw strength from previous successes and lessons learned. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.” I feel this so deeply to be true. Even in the darkest nights when I can’t understand why things are the way they are, when my heart is breaking, when it seems I am in a place where God is silent, I can look back at times when the answers came after waiting, when the light broke through the past darkness, and feel reassurance that the morning will come.

All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the Bible in Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1 we read that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It is this faith that gives us hope and power to continue on with the good works we do even when we cannot yet see the outcomes we hope for. We keep putting one step in front of the other. We may move more slowly, we may need to check in or reach out, but we can keep going, keep working, keep hoping. We are women of faith.

Recently while I was driving in the morning fog I paused at an intersection with a four way stop. When I looked down the road to my left I was hit by the thought of all I could not see. I know the road there continues for quite a while, but with the fog and the trees and the curve of the road, what I could see was actually very little of what there really is. The impression that settled in my heart was a reminder that God sees it all. My faith tells me that while my perspective is limited, He knows the end from the beginning. Trusting in Him will help elevate my understanding and give me courage to continue. 

Being a woman of faith gives purpose to the mundane, power to the smallest of acts, and strength to persist and persevere when faced with challenges that seem insurmountable. It means trusting that as we do what God would have us do, He will help us and make us more than we would have been on our own. It means reaching out and lifting those around us. It means knowing that God sees what I cannot and accepting His love and guidance to continue in hope.

Lead photo credit: Jake Johnson via Unsplash