Pausing In The Passing Places

  • Christian Chat is a moderated online Christian community allowing Christians around the world to fellowship with each other in real time chat via webcam, voice, and text, with the Christian Chat app. You can also start or participate in a Bible-based discussion here in the Christian Chat Forums, where members can also share with each other their own videos, pictures, or favorite Christian music.

    If you are a Christian and need encouragement and fellowship, we're here for you! If you are not a Christian but interested in knowing more about Jesus our Lord, you're also welcome! Want to know what the Bible says, and how you can apply it to your life? Join us!

    To make new Christian friends now around the world, click here to join Christian Chat.


Senior Member
Jan 14, 2018
The wisdom and grace of Alice Scott-Ferguson:

Even if you have never been to
Scotland, some of you will be famil-
iar with the narrow winding roads
of the Highlands, perhaps from a
postcard of a car off to the side let-
ting a herd of slow sheep pass by,
or perhaps showing an impossibly
large truck bearing down on the
tiny tucked-in car, and you won-
der: will it, can it, ever, safely get by?

Roads that have specially assigned
turnouts signposted in advance as
Passing Places, where you pull off
and let the oncoming traffic pass
before continuing your winding
journey—until the next one.

To me this is such a graphic meta-
phor for life! The wisdom, the ne-
cessity, indeed the imperative, of
pausing in the passing places on
our journey—of drawing into the
side of the road to avoid a head on
collision with disaster. Astounding-
ly enough, most of us fail to heed
the oncoming traffic in our lives; of
the visible vehicles approaching, in-
stead we insist on trying to outwit
the impending crash.

That our life roads are narrow and
constrained and replete with chal-
lenges is indisputable. That we need a safe place into which to slide till. the tumult of traffic eases is equally true. To hide in the cleft of the rock till the storm passes by, and Christ is that Rock. We have a passing place built in, a Rest from which we can observe the oncoming assault; through His eyes we see, and from His Life we draw courage and consolation knowing we cannot be permanently obliterated. It is a refuge where we feel the crush of the tragedy yet know it will pass, monstrous though it is, and a sanctuary where we can safely stay as long as needed for everything we see will change, shift or move. We can stay put in the safety of the passing zone because we know that what we cannot see will never change.

We are citizens of eternity.
Acknowledging that truth allows
us to live with purpose in the wait-
ing, which is anathema to our west-
ern mindset I know! Awareness that
after the temporary, momentary
affliction there is relief and rescue
ahead, gives us the courage to no-
tice, nod and wave to the passing
dangers, as do the courteous drivers
in the Highlands! It is not living in
denial, but in the vibrant engaged
energy of the Triune Life that faces
realities and, instead of revving up
the gears and roaring into oncom-
ing trouble, surrenders to and in-
tegrates the pain, the interruptions
and obstructions by pausing in the
provided place of Rest.
When I heard an AIDS patient
say, “I have learned to lean into my
disease and accept it and so find
peace,” I had my first hint of the law
of surrender. How long it takes to
learn it seems. How freeing it is to
come to that understanding, which
is really utter trust in the God who
loves, and lives in, us. It is the law of
love that if we “give in” we will expe-
rience the joy of “what is,” because
we know the I AM who is not only
helping us negotiate the traffic, but
who occupies the driver’s seat. We
can even enjoy the wait, noticing
the tiny wildflowers by the road-
side, and if we roll down the win-
dow, hear the lark soaring and sing-
ing above the din and maybe catch
the scent of the heather or the salt
of the sea.
And when it rains—and it does
a lot in this narrow road land—it is
not such a bad idea to pull in and
wait until the downpour dimin-
ishes, until the windshield wipers
can keep up with the deluge. When
tears blind the journey ahead and
grief overwhelms our souls, let
them flow; let them do their cleans-
ing work while we pause. The sun
will come out again, the traffic will
clear and it will soon be our turn to
ease out and hit the open road for
we don’t stay in the pull-out forever.
As I began to write this article,
I received a Facebook post from
a friend who has spent a couple
of days in the hospital though the
symptoms that took her there failed
to reveal the reason for her visit. “It
will pass” was the discharge decla-
ration! And as the observant Pablo
Giacopelli blogs, pain is meant to
be a visitor in our lives and never
a constant companion. There is a
whole lot of joyous living on this
journey and the passing places pro-
vide us safety and time out so that
we live to tell our traveling tales.
So whether it is a seemingly nev-
er ending pause like waiting for
those slow and stubborn sheep on
a Scottish single-track road, or a
huge hurtling assault like the truck,
which we are sure will take us out,
either way one thing is certain, this
too shall pass.