At the Speed of Time

Drive slow and enjoy the scenery – drive fast and join the scenery. ~Douglas Horton

We used to live in Arlington, Texas- 18.5 hours away from our families.

18.5 hours of driving. Non-stop.

Of course we did stop. We had two small children, and sometimes the dog came along, too. That was before the days of dvd players in vans, Waze or Google maps, even before cell phones for us.

The road seemed to get longer as we drove. Usually we took a day and a half to complete the drive, but a couple of times we drove straight through, making it in less than 24 hours.

Go ahead. Say it.

We were NUTS!

I know we couldn’t do that now. I get more restless than a toddler when I’m in the car: squirming, twisting, putting the seat-back up and down. It’s just too long.

Moses led the Israelites out of bondage, through the desert, and then turned them over to Joshua for safe-keeping. He told the people that there would be another prophet coming and they should listen to him.

About 1500 years passed.

Talk about a long drive.

So when Jesus’s disciples prophesied and performed miracles in his name, people were stunned. They couldn’t believe it.

They thought the ride was over a long time ago, but now- what in the world!?

Sometimes on those long car rides across the country, I fell asleep and woke up disoriented.

“What state are we in? Are we out of Tennessee, yet?”

The Israelites had fallen asleep along the way. They were waking up disoriented.

Don’t be too quick to judge, though.

Have you prayed over a sick friend and then cried in surprise when your prayers were answered? Maybe you thought there would never be a baby, but you asked God and asked God, and now the flu is a bad case of morning sickness. You’re so stunned you stare at the test results in disbelief.

Jesus has been gone a long time. There’s no doubt that the gas is low in the tank, and we feel like a nap. It’s easy to forget that he is still  driving the car.

Instead of pulling in the rest area, pull out your map- even if you use the digital version- and get your bearings again.

It’s the trip of a lifetime.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6 NIV

Road Work

mapWe’re all pilgrims on the same journey- but some pilgrims have better road maps. ~ Nelson DeMille

Last month we took the boys to French-speaking Quebec for a couple of weeks. Matt was nervous about such an endeavor, you know, seeing as NONE of us speaks French. I, on the other hand, was calm about the whole thing.

Matt: But what will we do if they don’t speak English?

Me: We’ll find someone who does. It is an English-speaking country after all. (nonchalant flip of the hair)

We purchased a card for our phone so that we could use it for GPS and data in case we needed to find a point of interest or a restaurant and headed north. On the afternoon of the second day we crossed the USA/Canada border in an extremely tiny town in Vermont. Matt pulled up to the booth only to be motioned to back up and wait. That was just the beginning.

The stop sign was in French. The signs explaining to wait until told to approach were in French. All of the directions, you got it, French.

I plugged in the phone and tried to start it up. It wouldn’t work in Canada’s remote 2G system.

We had no maps, no phones, no GPS, no . . . French.

We managed to get to Montreal and find a hotel, then we spent the rest of the trip depending on maps we found before leaving our rooms. It was nerve-wracking to say the least. Not only did we not have good maps or directions, we couldn’t understand the signs. Was the lane going to end? Was it reserved for certain vehicles? Was there something we needed to know?

Two years before we had traveled through the UK. I had imagined it would be no big deal, I mean, all you have to do is drive on the other side of the road. Oh. My. Word. Not only is that difficult to explain to your brain; all of the signs look different than in the States, and usually they don’t come with words. Having our GPS phone was our lifesaver, and I am not exaggerating.

This summer our county is doing a whole lot of road work. I had an appointment in a nearby town this morning. I drove about 25 miles and went through 5 road construction areas. Two of them had detours. I was grateful that I understood the signs. I was frustrated that they were causing me delays, but grateful that I understood what was going on.

When we got back from Quebec I looked up the translation of “travaux”; it had appeared on many road signs. There were context clues that it meant some sort of road construction, but I was curious. Literally it translates “works” and is often associated with road work.

Sometimes my life van is driving along and I see a sign I don’t understand. I rubberneck it as I pass, and tip my head to the side for a while afterward. Hmm, wonder what’s going on? Sometimes it isn’t until an entire trip later that I understand what that sign was all about. But one thing is for sure. My GPS is set for only one home, and I’m going to make it there . . . some day.

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” Exodus 13:17 NIV