Took our first cable car ride a few weeks ago, my guy and I. Crammed onto the tiny platform at the rear of the car and wrapped our fleecy jackets tight against the chilly gray day, reaching up to grasp the cold metal poles.
The conductor operating the rear brakes was a middle-aged man from the Philippines. As it turns out, this unassuming man could simultaneously carry on a perfectly fluid conversation in French with the Parisienne graduate student next to us and sternly chastise Greg and me for our awkward (and entirely unsuccessful) attempts at staying outside the yellow painted area. (An area which was marked in big, bold letters, “DO NOT STEP HERE OR YOU WILL RECEIVE AN EMBARRASSING SCOLDING. ALSO, YOU MIGHT DIE.” At least that’s what I think it said.)
Our conductor also proved to be a brilliant encyclopedia of cable car history and technology. Sensing I was in the presence of greatness, I ventured a question: “Um, how does this thing work?”
Our resident genius pointed to a slit down the middle of the asphalt, under which we could see a thick, twisted metal rope. He explained that this cable formed a constantly-moving loop through the city. In order for the cable car to progress, a grip located on the underside of the car latched onto the cable and pulled the car along at a steady 9.5 mph. Up steep inclines, down treacherous hills—always forward, always 9.5 mph.
Lately I’ve been feeling like this cable car as I’ve been drug along the ups and downs of looking for a job.
Sometimes I find myself chugging up a ridiculously steep hill, climbing, climbing, climbing. I get weary of the monotony, exhausted by the effort. The elusive summit fails to appear, and the thought crosses my mind that—just perhaps—some prankster has mischievously rerouted the cable. A disappointing phone call here; a dead end prospect there.
As I labor uphill, I am tempted to simply let go of the cable and stop dead in my tracks, even risking sliding downhill. Yes, that would be nice, I tell myself. Just stop right here. Right now.
Other times I find myself easing down a friendly slope, fresh breezes cheering me on toward the goal. Hopeful vistas materialize out of nowhere, and my mind dares to hope that maybe—just maybe—I will arrive at my long-desired destination after all. A promising interview here; a surprise email there.
As I glide downhill, I am tempted to release the cable and fly full-bore toward the first option that presents itself, tossing caution to the wind and careening off track if need be. Enough waiting! No more wild goose chases for me!
The problem is …
… with either temptation, I risk losing everything this journey is meant to be:
- Faith growing deep
- God’s whispers in the silence
- Unexpected blessings
- A right result, at the right time
If experiencing all the abundant-life beauty of following Christ means I have to keep both disappointment and hope in check, then so be it. I’d far rather keep pace with Him than follow my capricious conclusions.
The Spirit’s timeline
Jesus once said to a seeker named Nicodemus: “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).
Doesn’t that sound very much like that underground cable? The cable car can’t see where it comes from, nor where it leads. But if the car stays clasped for dear life to that ever-advancing line, it will arrive in good time.
I tire sometimes; I run ahead sometimes. But, in my heart of hearts, I know that there’s nowhere I’d rather be than tethered to the Spirit’s timeline.
You walk ahead, we fall behind,
The further we fade into the darkness.
And for all the times we run ahead,
Call us back to where Your heart is.
Oh, this could be the journey of a lifetime
Oh, we want to be tethered to Your timeline
(It’s Your Revolution, by Jason Walker and Tim Timmons)
Are you with me? I could use some fellow passengers.
Still following His voice,