What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.John 13:7
It was a time of celebration. The temperatures would have dropped with nightfall that early spring evening. The men gathered in that upper room knew nothing of the commonalities coming to an end; oblivious to the road’s sudden turn ahead. Yet, with full knowledge of their misconceptions, the confusion they would soon feel and the weight He was about to shoulder, Jesus rose from the table and began to wash their feet. From a reclined, comfy seat with a full belly and heavy heart, Jesus went out of His way to teach one more lesson though He knew they wouldn’t comprehend it until later.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.Proverbs 3:5-6
I always thought these verses, popularly known among my family as grandmother’s favorite, meant the journey would be easy. (I know, I just chuckled aloud too.) But we live on a windy country road. We are well versed in the fact that often times, the best route between here and there, comes with some significant turns along the way. And at the ripe old age of thirty, I’m beginning to see over the course of my life, that the places in my story where I have entrusted my heart to the God of the universe, the straight path to the destination often came with a bend in the road; a bend in my version of where the road should lead.
See, faith we can control, isn’t faith at all. I have balked at the new twists God has infused in my story: The intense grief at the sudden loss of my uncle, the surgeries to correct poorly matured sinus cavities, depression at a time I should have been celebrating or the sudden medical crisis that could have claimed my husband, to name a few. But in the midst of every one of life’s little bends in the road, big or little, I can look back to see the straight line drawn between my heart and my Savior’s. Every one is an open opportunity to dive deeper into the depth of Christ’s love and cultivate through the ruins of my agenda a faith that knows no bounds, which has always been His goal.
As I read that passage in John 13, it was as if the Lord reached through the pages of scriptures to take hold of my hand as He whispered those words to my aching heart: What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand. This story God is writing in our midst is one our child will one day need to hear; a story that grew a faith in his/her parents that was unlike anything they could have possessed otherwise.
The disciples version of a straight path led them to an earthly throne. Jesus’ straight path led Him to a cross. I may not understand the reason today’s climate feels cold and the destination so far away right now. But afterward I will. Leaning into understanding not my own seems scary. It doesn’t come without sacrifice. Even so, opening my whole heart to release any semblance of control and understanding to entrust it into the much more capable hands of my Creator is worth the risk.
And so it is with you my friend. Whatever you’re facing, whatever twist in the road you hadn’t accounted for, He did. Let’s lean into His understanding together, rather than our own. Entrusting to Him our whole hearts. We won’t understand what He’s doing now. We’ll just have to let that go. But afterward…
Afterward we will.