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"Don't Get Ahead of Me"

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My father rushed down the stairs, faster than I’ve ever seen him run before. He was out of there. Gone. In the middle of Detroit. And I knew he wasn’t going to stop until he found whom he was looking for.

“Stay with me”

My younger sister, mother, father, and I were in Detroit, Michigan, for a music workshop. Rehearsal was quickly approaching, so we left our hotel and made our way to the outdoor metro station, better known as the air shuttle or elevated tram.

My sister, Aliya, had more energy than the rest of us, causing her to walk at a quicker pace. My father said many times, “Don’t get ahead of me. Stay with me.” Aliya would comply for a while, but eventually return to the faster pace. Again Dad would say, “Pull back. Don’t get ahead of me.”

We walked up some stairs to get to the elevated tram. Once again, Aliya was a little ahead of the rest of the family. The tram was there, the door was open, and Aliya walked in. When her second foot reached the inside of the tram, the doors immediately closed.

I still vividly remember the look on my sister’s face when she realized what had happened. Inside the tram, she started running toward us as it took off in the opposite direction.

The chase

I held my breath. My father was gone, running to get to the next station. Like a smack to the face, it hit me: my helpless little sister was lost . . . in Detroit—a place that isn’t exactly known as the safest place in the country. I panicked and cried. My mother and I got on the next tram.

I don’t know how far my father had to run, but he eventually caught up with my sister. A woman on the tram had noticed what had happened and had watched out for Aliya while she was on the tram. My father thanked her immensely, and Aliya was again in his care.

My mother and I were still on the other tram, now with fellow musicians, when we got the news. I was relieved. When Aliya returned to my mother’s arms, my mother cried. Who knows what would have happened if the stranger hadn’t watched over her?

“Stay with Me”

I can easily liken this story to our relationships with God. He is constantly saying to us, “Don’t get ahead of Me. Stay with Me.” It is in our best interest to obey Him. If we don’t, we can get lost.

In a way, the prodigal son got ahead of his father by asking for his inheritance early (see Luke 14:11-32). He wasted his life away because he went too fast. The prodigal son hit rock bottom. He had nothing left, and soon he got so hungry that even pigs’ food started to look good to him. But when he decided to return home, his father welcomed him with open arms.

Abraham and Sarah got ahead of God (see Genesis 12-21). God promised them a son even though they were old. All they had to do was wait. But instead of waiting on Him, they took matters into their own hands. Sarah had Abraham sleep with Hagar, her servant. Hagar then had a baby by Abraham—Ishmael. Still, as God had promised, Abraham and Sarah had a son—Isaac. Because of the shortcut with Hagar, though, the descendants of Ishmael and the descendants of Isaac are still in conflict to this day.

There are consequences for going ahead of God. Our reasons to go ahead of Him may seem logical at the moment, but God’s logic trumps everything. We read in Isaiah 55:8, 9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (KJV). The wisest thought of man can’t touch the dumbest thought of God (and God doesn’t have dumb thoughts!). God knows the end from the beginning. All we have to do is trust in Him and wait on Him.

Sometimes we might mess up and try to get ahead of God, but like the father took back the prodigal son, like God blessed Isaac’s descendants, and like God sent the stranger to watch over my sister, God will take care of us.

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14, KJV).

Nia Langley is a college student studying English.


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