A Pebble in the Trench


When I was a little girl, I loved playing in mud puddles after a hard rain.  There was nothing like the squishy, oozing feeling between my fingers and against the palm of my hand, the way the cold mud would encase my hand like a glove when I pressed it down as far as it would go, and the sucking sound when I pulled it free.  And I loved making a little trench between two mud puddles, watching the water flow and then adding pebbles to steer it where I wanted it to go.

God steers us in a similar way.  He’s not a puppet master, forcing us to do this and that, nor is He waiting with a lightning bolt to zap us when we make a mistake; thank goodness for that or I’d be so electrified I could light up the night sky for miles around.  But God loves us enough to steer us away from danger and to the life He has waiting for us.

So if you’re sailing along from one mud puddle in the hopes of reaching the next and you see a big fat obstacle blocking your dream or goal, maybe God set up that pebble in the trench so you’ll wait on Him to make another way to get there.  Perhaps He’s protecting you from danger or maybe the timing isn’t right.  Or maybe He has something different, something better for you altogether.

So what do you do when you’re face to face with the pebble blocking your way?

You wait.  And while you’re waiting, God is working.  (You may not see what He’s up to, but He’s always working.)

But maybe you don’t want to wait.  Maybe you think waiting is a waste of time.  Well, you can always abandon ship and walk around to get where you want to go.  Just don’t be too surprised if your feet get stuck in the mud. Really stuck.  Then you’ll be cold, wet, and tired from trying to pull your feet out.  Only you won’t be able to so you’ll be forced to stand there in the mud that is now up to your knees as you wait on God.

Or maybe you like the idea of moving that pebble.  Ha!  Did I mention that in God’s hands it IS a pebble, but in yours, it’s more like a boulder or the moon?  Good luck.  Hope you don’t throw out your back.  But if you do, you can just rest your hand on that boulder and wait until you can stand upright.

Again, the waiting!

So it seems instead of getting stuck and wearing yourself out by hoofing it in your impatience, or instead of hurting yourself by trying to do the impossible, you can trust God when He uses a pebble (or in your case, a boulder) to block your path.  He knows what He’s doing.

Then finally after all of your waiting (which could be mere hours or many years), God shows you another way.  He’s been busy making a new trench, a new stream that flows easily down and into this amazing pool of fresh water; no more dirty water!  And here, the sun reflects off of the water like a thousand sparkling diamonds and there are enough cool breezes to help you catch your breath.  You close your eyes and thank God for putting a pebble in your trench and forming a new stream that led you to this place where you know you are about to do what you were created to do alongside the One who created you for such a time and place.

“Trust God from the bottom of our heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.  Don’t assume that you know it all.” (Proverbs 3:5-7a The Message.)