On Saturday afternoons when I was a kid, we used to pile in the wood-paneled station wagon...three in the front...three (or four) in the middle...and three in the WAAAY back. Looking back, these rides probably preserved my mother's sanity but I did not know it at the time. We just saw them as a break in routine. We would stop fussing and fighting for the hour or so that we meandered through the countryside. Turn-Right Rides we called them. No particular destination in mind. When we came to a stop sign we voted. Left or right? A decision was made and the car pointed in a new direction.
We played the Silo Game. 1 point for white silos. 5 for the blue Harvestors. You could only count the silos on your side of the car. We drove over a bridge with a grated metal surface. The Tickle Bridge. "Everybody put your feet on the floor, we're coming up to the Tickle Bridge." We laughed as the vibrations came through the soles of our sneakers. We held our breath as we crossed long bridges and our noses when we came across a cow pasture.
Mom would look out the window and enjoy the peace and comment on the houses. "Look how pretty that one is. I love that wrap-around porch. Look at that garden."
Dad, an agronomist, would study the corn fields. Sometimes he would even stop the car and inspect the health of an ear of corn. These were alway short stops because we protested. Who cared about the corn's constitution?
Aside from these visits to the cornfield, we rarely stopped. But sometimes we did. At a playground behind a country school. At a maple tree farm when the sap was running. We sat on the edge of our seats when we drove through the little town with the ice-cream stand. Sometimes we drove right by and and all of the kids felt deflated as the balloon of expectation was pricked. But sometimes we stopped. Soft-serve chocolate and vanilla twists in a cone or in a bowl were passed around. The cheers silenced by the softer sounds of licks and slurps.
We turned right and left and right again. We always made it back to our own driveway no matter how convoluted the route. My dad has a sense of direction like a homing pigeon.
This memory came to mind after I read yesterday's I AM Bible Study. Lisa uses the life of Moses and the Israelites to illustrate a Biblical truth. When trials come our way we can share them in a way that will make God famous.
Just over a year ago, on this ride that is called life, my husband came upon several STOP signs in quick succession. And did so I, because we ride in the same vehicle, called family. The signs were not expected. Neither were they "fair." For a while, we concentrated on the signs. We shared with a few close friends a play by play of how we had arrived at the intersection. We made decisions. Turn left. Turn right. We looked at the signs in the rearview mirror. (OK, so it was mostly me doing the looking.) What if we had turned right instead of left? Was there anything we could have done to prevent coming upon those stop signs in the first place?
God is good. He kindly turned my eyes from the intersection to His face. "You are missing the view. Stop rehearsing the details of these events. That brings glory to you...not to Me. Rehearse the details of My character. Look at Me. I have so much more to show you. Enjoy the ride and stop wishing you were on another road."
We have not "arrived." I do not know how this particular Turn-Right Ride will end. But I do know that I am beginning to turn right. I am learning to look out the front window at where we are headed. I am learning see more and speak more of the goodness of my Jesus. I know that my God is in the driver's seat. He created the sense of direction in the homing pigeon and eventually we will surely arrive at the destination that He had in mind when those STOP signs first loomed on the horizon.