Just keep drivin'

A couple weeks ago, it was one of those breathtakingly beautiful mornings with fog everywhere — white snow, white sky, crisp frost on the branches. I was heading to Indianapolis so I grabbed my camera to try to capture some of this beauty. Unfortunately, as I drove along 32, I could never find a good place to pull over to take pictures. Frustrated, I vowed to take the next side road I came to. It snuck up on me in the fog, and I swung onto it... and, moments too late, noticed it was a rutted, muddy dirt road. Not even gravel, just dirt. Great. My clean white car...

I hadn’t gone far before I regretted my decision, but there was no place to stop and nowhere to turn around. There was not a single house or lane to be found. At first it was just messy and bumpy, but before long, I started composing in my head the words to explain to Tim how I got stuck in the middle of nowhere and needed to be rescued. The muck was deep and sucked at my tires. My car was sliding from side to side when it wasn’t bogged down by the deep wet earth, and the tires were spinning and spewing mud up to the top of the side windows. I didn’t care how clean my car was; all I could do was pray out loud and focus on not stopping. I knew if I so much as slowed down I’d never get moving again. The sludge in the road pulled the car from side to side; my shoulders were tense from gripping the wheel, and I repeated over and over, out loud,“Lord Jesus, please. Lord Jesus, please. Lord Jesus, please!” After two miles, I came to a crossroads (thank you, Jesus!) and the road was paved (thank you, Jesus!). With a deep breath of relief, I turned onto it, feeling stupid and annoyed with myself. I headed right back to the main road, making sure at each turn that the road was solid asphalt before me, and went directly to Indy and the nearest car wash.

Sometimes we’re faced with situations we don’t want to be in — usually because of choices (or stupid decisions) we’ve made. Those are the times we need to look for a side road and turn around, or look for the earliest opportunity to get off that path.

But once in a while, we’re in circumstances that are out of our control. A relative is very sick; we lose jobs or friends or money; we’re misunderstood or unappreciated or wrongly treated. Some of these predicaments are small, but some are all-consuming and life-altering. We may think we can’t bear it. We don’t have the strength or energy or desire to patience to get through, and our hearts are broken. But more than that, we don’t know how to keep going. We’re being pulled down into a quagmire, under the sludge and muck, trapped and unable to find a way off that path. Those are the times we need to keep the pedal to the floor and just keep going, praying all the way. It may be ugly, and it may be messy, and it may even be a little bit scary. But if we can just keep moving forward, and ask God to help, we will get past the place we’re in.

3 comments:

Dina said...

Gosh! What a visual lesson here. Well said, Kelly.

Anonymous said...

What did God have to do with this? If you feel like giving God credit for all of the good in life then you need to be just as willing to give him credit for all of the bad as well.

Kelly O'Dell Stanley said...

Of course God is in everything, the good and the bad. The point is not that God is good only if we get through a situation. The point is, He is good NO MATTER WHAT. I believe He created everything and is in everything. I don't believe he CAUSES bad things to happen, although I do believe He allows them.

The point I was trying to make is this: sometimes when we're faced with terrible, trying situations we want to curl up in a ball in the corner. I'm just saying that in order to get through, we have to keep moving. We have to trust that God is in this with us, and we need to keep moving forward -- continuing to pray, continuing to praise Him, continuing to do whatever it is we can do. Christians and non-Christians go through the same things -- for me, the difference is the "peace that surpasses all understanding" that God gives us when we allow Him to be part of our lives.