Read Philippians 1:18b-26.
On any road trip, if you’re the one asking the question, “Are we there yet?,” you are probably not the one driving. Instead, you’re in the passenger seat, eating snacks and setting the playlist, blissfully unaware of what mile marker you’ve passed. You’re not in control, but just along for the ride.
Paul is no stranger to a life where he is not in the driver’s seat. As he writes to the Philippians, he is imprisoned and awaiting trial. He is uncertain what the outcome will be — further imprisonment, freedom, or even death. He faces powers and people that will impact what happens to him next. Paul is not in control of the outcome of his own life.
Like Paul, our lives are often guided by forces beyond ourselves: the responsibilities of everyday life, the expectations of others, and the limitations of a sinful and imperfect world, to name a few. We might wish we were in total control, but sometimes it feels as if we are in the passenger’s seat wondering: are we there yet? And where are we even going?
And yet, from the passenger seat, Paul rejoices. It’s not that he has given up, but he recognizes that no matter what, God is with him. We rejoice in this too. When we celebrate at Christmas, we rejoice that God is with us, in all things, even the circumstances beyond our control.
Dear God, even when I feel helpless, you are with me. Help me to rejoice in your presence, find hope in unusual places, and be supported by my community, so that wherever we go, we might get there together. Amen.
Rev. Caroline Barnett
Campus Minister, UKirk Auburn
Associate Pastor, First Presbyterian Church (Auburn, AL)