I rose early in the morning, made tea, then hit the road. “Jesus, please give me a smooth two hour trip to Jackson, Tennessee.” I asked.
At the back of my mind, memories of breaking down three times on the interstate still haunted me and although I tried not to white-knuckle the steering wheel, I still did.
I thought of the first time I got stranded out of state with a dying phone. A trooper finally stopped, got me a tow and I spent the night in a motel in some little town I’d never heard of.
The second time, my poodle and I had watched black smoke billow up from under the hood while I wondered if we were going up in flames. When I sought cover in a tree clearing, a TDOT man stopped and said there were a lot of copperhead snakes in the area.
"But I kept you safe, didn’t I?" Jesus reminded me. I grudgingly answered yes and also remembered how during the third time he held back an awful thunder storm until the tow truck arrived.
This morning, I enjoyed the clear weather after the heavy rain storms we had endured. The engine of the used Lexus sedan Hewitt had recently bought me hummed along happily. Since it was a reliable auto brand I took a deep breath and admired a horse prancing in a nearby pasture. This time is special, I encouraged myself. Enjoy the smooth ride, listen to music and pray.
I soon merged unto I40 and increased the speed. As we coasted along I relaxed my tight grip. Many appointments were lined up for the day and I was ready to work hard and take care of my clients.
An hour into the ride, everyone’s red taillight came on and we screeched to a standstill. I let my engine idle, glad to have avoided a wreck. But after not inching along for 30 minutes I pulled out my phone to check what was going on.
The screen showed a massive wreck miles down the road. “I’ll be late for the first massage,” I muttered. I texted my client and warned her, then waited some more. When we barely inched along my worry increased. Would I need to cancel more people?
When an exit became visible my navigation presented an alternative road. Filled with glee I turned off the beaten path and barreled down a country road. This would be an adventure. Those poor people stuck on the interstate and unaware of this shortcut, I thought. My car coasted through a hamlet. When my navigation app told me to enter a narrow, red dirt path into the woods I found the setting romantic.
The road rose upwards at a step angle. Soon hickory, maple and pine trees obscured any view and the path turned into slick ruts. Dirt clods started to fly. When the mud thickened further, my car shuddered and slid towards the edge of the road. “Dear Lord, no.” I clung to the wheel and forced my car to the top then breathed a sigh of relief. The steep ride down would be a breeze.
My car skidded again, hit a limb lying across the track and came to a halt. I revved the engine with no success, then crawled out on the ground and tugged at the branch. When it gave, I tumbled backwards into the mud.
I wiped my hands, hopped back in and continued the descent, driving on soap. When I reached the bottom of the hill I wanted to cry from relief. The worst was over. I checked the directions. The connection had broken.
“Ok. God. It is you and me.” The car hobbled along while moaning at the rough conditions. When I turned a corner an unexpected sight met me. Water was gushing across the road. Livid, I stared at the excess rain water that had become a river blocking my progress. If I tried to ford it I would simply float away.
“God, I can’t call roadside assistance, nor do I fancy spending the night in my car. Please help me turn around and go back up this horrendous road,” I begged while shaking.
An hour and a half later I made it back to the interstate. It was still clogged. I laughed.
“Great. I’m going home.” Another hour and a half later I parked in our driveway and dumped my bag by the door. “I am safe! Oh, thank you Jesus.”
The next day we processed.
“Why didn’t you answer my prayer for a smooth trip?”I asked him accusingly.
Jesus smiled. "You worship predictability."
But you need adventure.
Yes. You need to know that when all your plans, hopes and dreams crash that I will still make a way. Embrace unpredictability and know that I AM WITH YOU
The conversation ended.
Do I still ask for safe and great road trips? Yes.
But I am also learning that on this journey called life heaven offers a constant flow of help, advice, comfort and trouble shooting. And since keeps Jesus rubbing in the truth that I am never alone no matter how tricky things get it simply must also mean that I AM SAFE.