From Connections: Are you sure this is my stop?

By Darlene Warren

BIG SANDY, Texas-Have you ever had the feeling you got off at the wrong bus stop? You immediately know something is wrong, but the driver won't open the door despite your pounding fist. The air brakes hiss and the bus pulls away from the curb. You're all alone in a world you don't understand.

Unprepared for the situation you find yourself in, you begin walking. All that night and into the next day you don't dare lie down to rest; you may never find the strength to rise again. Or, even worse, you may be perceived as prey.

Step by step you keep walking. As you walk, your senses dulled by hunger and fatigue, you begin to imagine all sorts of things. You convince yourself it really wasn't your mistake that you ended up here. You didn't get off the bus voluntarily; the driver actually kicked you off. He didn't care that it was growing dark. He left you to fend for yourself in a crime-ridden section of town.

That's right. It's all coming back to you. How could he do that to you? He's always dropped you off in the right neighborhood in the past. What could he have been thinking? You don't belong here.

Measuring up

With Passover season approaching, nothing seems more natural than to embark on a soul-searching trip down into our inner selves. In fact, the Bible admonishes us to do that very thing. What have I done in the past year to make a difference in this world? Have I made, or lost ground, in my Christian race? Have I accomplished anything God would be pleased with? Who have I offended, and what can I do to make amends? Where have I failed and how many times? How do I measure up?

Before you know it, your whole life has passed before you. (Talk about adding insult to injury.) It doesn't take long to get yourself so far down in the dumps you need a backhoe to dig yourself out. I'm not sure God can even see down this far. He seems so far away.

As we experience this world tour, none of us escapes the trials and tests that come with the trip package. Our lives end up in the most peculiar ways, at the most unexpected times.

Things aren't going the way you had planned? You're not at the point on your life's map where you thought you'd be at this juncture?

The loss of someone you deeply love can be a pain that slowly eases only with the passing of time, but never completely goes away. A failed marriage can leave you feeling useless and inadequate. A serious illness or accident can waste your body and break your spirit.

More than a bump

Regardless of the specifics, whenever a lifestyle change occurs it's more that just a bump in the road. It can mean a total change in travel plans.

It's terribly humbling to realize how futile our efforts are when it comes to planning a travel itinerary. The only choice we really have when things go awry is to keep moving. Regardless of how or why trials and tests come upon us, we are admonished to examine ourselves and reflect on how well or not so well we are handling what God puts before us-to admit to ourselves just how weak and human we really are.

As Al Pacino so eloquently said in Scent of a Woman: "If you tangle up, tango on." Don't ever give up.

Don't get mad

In the end it doesn't matter why or how you ended up where you did. Did the driver push you off, or did you step off willingly? The important thing is to get back on the bus at the first available opportunity. You can't stay mad at the bus driver.

After all, He's the only one who knows where you really belong. You've got all eternity to ask why.

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