Sunday, October 18, 2015

Staying Inside the (Imaginary) Lines

It was a very dark night with little traffic and an absence of star/moon light.  But let me start from the beginning.

A little over 4 years ago our sweet grandson, Jacob, came into the world.  We knew his due date but because we knew he would be born with Down syndrome, we were prepared for him to potentially arrive a bit early.  Factoring all of that in, we planned a trip south to visit friends in NC, expecting to be back in plenty of time.

Before we left, Charlie and I agreed that if anything unexpected occurred, we would immediately head back home.  And that is what happened.  We had been with our friends for a day or so when Charlie got the call that our daughter-in-law had gone into labor early, the birth had been complicated and Jacob was in the NICU.

Then and there we gathered our things together, beginning our return trip early afternoon.  We have made this 14 hour trip in one day but always had started very early in the morning.  Driving that plan allowed us to arrive home in the wee hours of the morning, enabling us to sleep in our own bed before daylight poked in under our shades.

This trip, as it turned out, was so much more difficult because we had to drive all through the night.  We were thankful for the GPS but somewhere in the midst of its directions and some confusing signage, we ended up on an unfamiliar stretch of highway (somewhere in Ohio).  Not only was it unfamiliar but it was new, had no center line and no guiding lines on the edges of the highway.  Because we entered this highway at such a late hour, there was very little traffic.

I was driving and it was scary!  Seriously.  Night driving always requires more concentration but this was really a stretch.  This highway did have traffic lights, spaced miles apart, so occasionally we would see some light but I was very thankful when we finally got off that road.

That journey got me to thinking.  What if I had to wander through life with no rules, no guidelines and my journey took me through very difficult (dark) places?  What if I had nothing to help me pick the right direction or warn me when I was getting into danger zones?

Praise God for His Word!  It is my roadmap through life and even when life’s circumstances make no sense, God ALWAYS shows a way through it.  The Bible comforts me when I am overwhelmed, provides those “lines” when I am wandering off course and encourages me when I feel like I am just out there in the middle of the darkness.

In my weekly women’s Bible study we are studying about the exodus of God’s people.  In Exodus 20 God gave Moses the 10 commandments to teach the people how to honor Him (God) and how to live with one another.  Leviticus provides insight into the many Levitical laws put in place to protect them (with Jesus being the fulfillment of those laws).  In Exodus 13: 21 we experience a rather dramatic picture of God going ahead of the people in a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night which allowed the people to travel by night or day.  They had a very important destination…THE PROMISED LAND!

There are so many stories of how God provided safe passage.  For us, that night on the highway was pretty undramatic….mostly scary.  But even something as ordinary as our car lights provided a way to move forward.  It was an arduous journey and we would not choose to drive through the night again, if avoidable.  Thankfully, we arrived home in time to see baby Jacob later that next day and, eventually, the whole family was safely back at home.

Are you going through a “dark night” right now?  Does it feel like there is no “center line” or that your boundary lines are non-existent?  In that darkness there is One Who is a continual source of light and provides all the guidelines needed.  And God has written it all down.  I encourage you to pick up His book; I promise, it is more than sufficient.

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