Life Lessons On Route 206

That particular road is only nine miles long.
It connects two major highways and is the best path to my favorite shopping area.
On the way there yesterday it was gorgeous, even though it had rained earlier in the day.
Dogwoods just starting to bloom.
Heavily wooded patches studded with pinkish-purple redbuds.
Clusters of daffodils.
And everywhere the electric green of new leaves.

No cars behind me, none in front of me, no obstacles to hinder me.
Just me, the Lord and the road.

That particular road is only nine miles long.
And on the way home from shopping it was like driving in a video game!
The person behind me who decided the most appropriate place to travel was attached to my bumper.
The traffic suddenly coming to a halt in front of me.
Being stopped in a short line of cars behind what I thought was a garbage truck stopped in my lane.
And the mail carrier in the other lane half-blocking the way.
It wasn’t until it was my turn to dart around the “garbage truck” that I realized what it actually was.
It was the roadkill collectors.
I pulled up behind them just in time for the perfect view of the rotting deer being hoisted into the bed of the truck.
That adventure was followed by others, including another mail carrier further down, a few emergency vehicles, lots of rain and more drivers who felt their agenda was more important than our mutual safety.

That particular road is only nine miles long.
But I was very grateful to get off of it and back onto the major highway!

This life is only a few miles – er, years – long.
I actually don’t know how many.
But in light of eternity, the longest life is very short.

And sometimes navigating this life feels like my trip to the store.
The sun is shining, things are blooming, the path is clear.
Gorgeous circumstances.

But more often than not, as you know, life is not like that leg of my journey.
It is more like the return trip, fraught with the unknown.
Sudden stops.
Encounters with icky things at best and danger at worst.
Other drivers who bring their own irritations and bad choices into my world – as I sometimes bring mine into theirs.
Obstacles springing up out of nowhere and the sense that I am living in some sort of cosmic video game.

As I turned onto the main road, after surviving those nine miles, God reminded me of some very important truths about life.

  •  I was very grateful that I was not alone in the car. Physically, I was. But it was such a comfort to know that the Lord saw the road before me and traveled with me into it. I kept up a running conversation and commentary with Him as we went. Sometimes it was a “Really, Lord?!” and other times it was heartfelt “Thank You!”    Asking for protection and wisdom. And being thankful when the pushy driver turned off. Constant communication that made all the difference because I knew I wasn’t driving alone.
  • Knowing the rules of the road helped to keep me from harm. I am not a perfect driver, nor do I always follow the posted speed. But knowing the law and following it helped to keep me safe. For example, I knew better than to just whip around the Roadkill Collector’s truck without first peering around to see who or what might be coming. Keeping a safe following distance from the car in front of me helped me to be in no danger of rear-ending the other car when we stopped suddenly. In the same way, knowing the laws of God will keep me safe from many of the harms of life. Doing life His way – forgiving, blessing those that curse me, giving generously, keeping my thought life pure, speaking the Truth in love – all of these and many more guidelines from His Word prove over and over again to be the best way to live.
  • But it wasn’t just knowing the rules that helped. It was actual obedience to them that made the difference. I am certain that every driver I encountered yesterday took some form of driver’s ed course. But I am also certain that many of them have forgotten what they learned or have decided it doesn’t apply to them. And when we knowingly chuck the rules, we live with the consequences of those choices. And, potentially, so do the other drivers around us. The prophet Samuel told King Saul, “God desires obedience more than sacrifice.” I can know what God says – but the power of radical living comes in actually doing what I know is right.
  •  I was grateful to know that this road was only temporary. While it still had many beauties, it also still had no shoulder. Along with many twists and turns. Hills and a blind curve or two. I had to travel it – but I also knew that “this too shall pass”. Home was waiting a few miles away. All I had to do was keep my eyes on the road, apply what I knew, and trust God. And sure enough, that road – and all the others – came to an end at a place I knew was waiting, my home. Of course, a big difference in my analogy – I do not know when this particular stretch of road that I dislike will end. But I know the Lord well enough to know that He will bring me to an easy-driving stretch here or there. There will be moments of rest along the way. Spots of beauty. And He has promised to bring me safely Home to my ultimate destination at just the right time. So while I may not enjoy this particular stretch that I am driving, better days are coming. Perhaps in the here and now. But guaranteed in the There and Then. Home is waiting. And God is good.

Will I take Route 206, the nine-mile road, again?
Will I drive it alone?
Never. Not that road or any other.
Because I am never alone.
I have learned to lean hard on my constant Friend, the One Who bought the right to go with me everywhere I go with His own blood.
The One Who loves me more than I can fathom.
And the One who will never leave me or forsake me.
The Only One Who can see the entire road I need to take over the course of my life.
So no matter which road He leads me to take – the most familiar or the least, the straightest or the curviest, the easiest or the hardest – I will choose to trust Him.
I don’t know how long the drive will be.
But I know the He is good.
And Home is coming closer every day.

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