Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6
I love road trips. Driving makes me relax. As a little girl we traveled a lot from Florida up Interstate 95 to North Carolina to visit family, so many memories of the alphabet game and counting South of the Border signs on the highway. This is where my joy for being the car started. Every drive was an adventure for me, a new unknown place to go visit.
Recently there is a stretch of road that I take at least once a month if not more to visit my parents and aunt. It is about a 2-hour drive through the Ozark Mountains. My daughter and I know it by heart; at least she knows the cows, horses, and other animals along the way.
This road is a small two-lane road that runs from Arkansas into Missouri. It has many curves, up hill climbs, steep downhill rides, and sharp turns. Even though I know the road well, I still need to slow down when the signs tell me to. I also need to keep a look out for deer and other wildlife that could appear out of nowhere. But my most nervous moments on these drives are as I approach the top of a hill. As I get to the very top it is like my stomach climbs straight into my mouth. The unseen that scares me!
What if there is a car on the wrong side of the road?
What if a dog is crossing the road?
I take a deep breath and go forward into the unknown.
Life is not a flat, simple road.
A few times my family has driven across the Kansas plains we can drive for miles and miles and not have one hill or sharp curve. We also can see as far as the horizon will let us. They are flat straight roads. We as a family get very bored on these roads. Why? Because we know what is coming for miles. I know life would be easier to have flat roads. I could plan ahead because I could see what is coming and prepare for a possible speed bump or detour, but those roads are boring in reality and in life.
The road I take to Missouri once a month has NEVER been boring. It is always an adventure, maybe not the safest or smoothest of roads, but one that I can expect the unexpected. I want my life to be an adventure, like this curvy, hilly, unpredictable road.
The complexities of the road of life let us experience and depend on God.
On this road, I have to always be alert. In 1 Peter 5:8 it says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” I need to be vigilant and even cautious at times. I do not know what lies ahead of me around the next corner, or the other side of the hill. Even though I know all the landmarks, like gas stations, houses and farms, what is unpredictable are the non-stationary things like cars on the road and roaming animals. I can plan the route, sure but there is no guarantee out there. “You may make your plans, but God directs your actions.” (Proverbs 16:9)
Another main reason to be alert is because even though I follow the guidelines the road has set before me, others might not follow them the same ones. We can make all the right choices, but our lives are so interconnected that someone’s choice can cause a detour in our lives. Sometimes, these detours can be beautiful scenic hilltop views or they can be dark foggy valleys. One’s action affects others: “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?” (1 Corinthians 5:6b)
I almost always need to remind myself that I am not the only one on the road. The other drivers’ actions affect my drive. If they veer too far over the guidelines they can become dangerous to other drivers. Because we are all linked to one another, and one driver’s action affects others on the road of life, whether good or bad.
The road of life is always going to have ups, downs, obstacles, roadblocks, and detours. It is how we drive determines how we are going to get to the end of the journey. Oh how we yearn to hear that in the end, after our journey here on earth, we’ll hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
So let us stay vigilant, pray, follow the guidelines given to us through regular Bible-reading, and most importantly, ask for Help because we aren’t meant to do this journey alone!