Staring out the backseat window of my friend Patty's Silverado truck, I half-listened to the conversation between her and our other friend, Dawn, about the need for first-hand research.
Dawn: "It would be fun to visit Connecticut, Patty, but we can't right now. We've just come from Minnesota. We need to go home."
Patty: "But in the Writing Authentic Historicals class, they said research is a very important. What better way to get the details right than to take a road trip over that way?"
I watched the white highway lines zoom past, ready to get home to my every day comfort, as well. The trip up to the conference and back had been such fun, but home beckoned.
Dawn (determination now steeling her voice)- "Maybe so, but we can't just head off to Connecticut. It's not anywhere near Texas."
At this point Patty turns to face Dawn, an eerie glint in her eyes like a toddler set on getting the last cookie from the jar placed on a high shelf. Then she says something I don't think I'll ever forget. With both hands firmly gripping the steering wheel, she stares transfixed at the winding road ahead and replies,
"I have four wheels and a tank of gas, what do you mean I can't go to Con-nec-ti-cut?"
Dawn's mouth drops, as well as my own. I swear that Patty meant it with all the sincerity of a boyscout . As long as she had a car, a tank of fuel and four inflated tires, what's to stop her?
Oh, but I wish I had such tenacity about plowing forward with my life.
We weren't meant to stand still. If we were, we'd sprout roots from our feet and grow leaves. No, God created us for the journey. He created us to run and not grow weary.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith... (Heb. 12:1-2)
Everybody is going somewhere...
Sometimes, the path is smooth and open. My feet meet the pavement like soft butter on warm toast. Everything is great. My joy explodes with each step. I have a song in my heart and a wave for every passing stranger.
Life couldn't be better!
Then other times, I stop dead in my tracks... breath, heart and stomach caught in my throat over what lays ahead.
In places like this I find myself gasping out fervent prayers for help, assistance, rescue. Yet, I venture on, steps cautious like a tight-rope walker. I see the road, though it's a bit unstable, perhaps flooded with worry and concerns.
And like David in Psalms, a cry escapes my lips, "For you are God, my only safe haven. Why have you tossed me aside?" (Ps.43:2 NLT)
That's kind of how it feels when the road gets rough and I become unsure of where to go next.
Still, other times, I stare up in disbelief at the mountain ahead, wondering how will I ever make it over this obstacle. Faith needed to cast the mountain aside, has been cast aside at the sight of such insurmountable opposition.
But once I really look, and sometimes you have to look really, really hard...there it is...
For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came
down, and the mountains trembled before you. Since ancient times no one has
heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on
behalf of those who wait for him. Isa. 64:3-4
There, my eyes locate a small narrow path winding its way past tight turns and steep uphill climbs. But it's there; a way over and to the other side. It's always been there. It will always be there.
Eyes must learn to focus on the small steps, not the giant leaps.
We are called to travel, to move forward, to continue the race set before us.
Despite how the path looks, how low, how obstructed, how high- He will not abandon.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Father God, help me to walk boldly along the paths you have set before me. Help me to not look in trepidation at the obstacles that get in the way, but to always, always, always, keep my eyes focused on you. For you walk at my side. You hold my hand securely. You guide with gentle nudges. Keep me near. Keep me close. Amen.