"Hey, we're gonna go through water!"
I was eight years old and it was my turn to ride shotgun
on our family's annual trip to Alaska.
I pointed at the shimmering pool of water straight ahead.
My dad chuckled. "Nah, that's just a mirage."
I frowned at him. "It's right there, Daddy! Can't you see? How'd water get on the road when it's so hot?"
He took his eyes off the road long enough to grin at me. "Okay. You'll see. When we get there, there won't be anything but dry pavement. It only looks like water."
Eight-year-old sophistication glared back at him. Was he teasing me? Anybody could see there was a huge pool of water just ahead. Maybe he shouldn't be driving a car if he couldn't even see it. Grownups!
I folded my arms in disgust and stared straight ahead, anticipating his shocked apology when our car splashed through the---
Wait a minute! I clamored onto my knees, hands on the dashboard, to gape at the dry pavement where the water had been. We were past it now. No splashing. No drops on the windshield. Dad kept his eyes on the road, a little grin tugging at the corners of his mouth.
Stunned, I looked from him back to the pavement where another pool of water beckoned a few yards away. Surely this time...
I sat out the next few moments in bewilderment until our car whizzed past my "pool" of water on dry land.
Only then did he turn to me and explain about mirages.
Only then was I humbled and ready to learn.
How many mirages have you chased in your lifetime?
That "sure thing." That golden promise just out of reach. That thrill, excitement, or lifestyle you are certain will satisfy. Only to find when you get there it vanishes like a mirage.
You were so sure. It couldn't be sin when anybody could see how delicious it would be. It couldn't be harmful, couldn't be empty, vain, or worthless when you could see with your own eyes how happy and fulfilled others were who pursued it.
So God lets you chase your empty dreams until you are humbled and ready to learn. Only then can we understand that not all we see is real. Not all we think we understand is accurate. As long as we are sure of ourselves and our abilities to meet our own needs, we are unteachable.
Nothing humbles us like splashing through a dry mirage we'd bet our lives was real.
Have you gotten there yet? If you're feeling bewildered, stunned that life didn't offer what you thought it did, then you're in a good place. You're teachable.
Forget the mirage and go to the Truth. Start building your life and dreams on the One who won't vanish when you need him. Learn God's ways, God's thoughts, and God's perspective on life and purpose to fashion yours as closely to His as you can.
Learn your lesson from that last mirage you thought you were gonna splash through. You don't know everything. In fact, you don't have enough information to direct your own life. Trust the one who understands mirages. Take His word for it--they will vanish when you get there but He won't.