I was driving home from my daily walk at our local mall when my car's speedometer suddenly dropped to zero.
How can that be? I looked at the speedometer again. What is going on?
As I continued driving, the speedometer bounced around erratically for a few minutes, then dropped to zero once again. Every time I hit a bump, the speedometer danced wildly.
I wonder how fast I'm driving. I don't want to get a speeding ticket.
The swiftly passing scenery and the speed of the other cars around me confirmed that I was still driving 40 miles an hour.
"You have a cracked cluster," the auto mechanic told me when I brought the car into the shop.
"I have a cracked what?" I responded.
"You have a cracked instrument cluster. You may be driving 40 miles an hour, but the message is not getting through to the speedometer. We will need to replace the instrument cluster."
I pondered that thought for a while. I wonder how many times I have been trying to live an overcoming life through God's strength, but that message is not getting through to my circumstances.
Sometimes, we exert tremendous effort to keep moving forward, but our circumstances--our instrument clusters--make it appear as if we are standing still or even going backward! There's a total "disconnect" between what our circumstances seem to be and how we are really doing. We may actually be climbing mountains, but our circumstances have not changed at all.
God, however, does not judge by our circumstances or outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7).
He sees the reality that no one else can see. "I will instruct you (says the Lord) and guide you along the best pathway for your life; I will advise you and watch your progress" (Psalm 32:8, The Living Bible). In other words, He closely watches every step we take. Every effort we exert and every decision we make registers with Him. He is not aloof, unconcerned or disconnected from us for even a moment.
He never promised a perfect connection between the reality of our lives, which He sees, and our earthly circumstances. Occasionally, our circumstances may reveal our progress to a limited degree, but other times they will fluctuate wildly and even drop to zero. In other words, our circumstances will always be "cracked."
When we get to heaven our progress and the results of all our efforts will be revealed and we will be amazed. God will give us a brand-new, eternally accurate instrument cluster, an indescribably wonderful set of circumstances. When we see what He has been able to accomplish through our lives we will experience joy beyond imagination.
In the meantime, "our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV).
Father, help us to fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen: the nearness of Your presence and the certain hope that we have in You.
© by Nancy A. Stevens