The tires swooshed down the highway in the darkness as my car followed the curves and ups and downs of the road in silence. It was dark. Somewhere above us there was a moon and stars but heavy clouds undoubtedly were blocking our view of them. Occasionally the red tail lights of the vehicle far ahead of us were visible just as a hill dipped or a curve again blocked their brightness.
We traveled this road daily. We knew every curve and every dip. We knew where old homes were returning to nature, overgrown with weeds and grasses. We knew the yards that were well manicured and cared for and the ones who were a little overcrowded with various “yard décor”.
Now this familiar route seemed less friendly, even a bit scary. I wished we were home but nearly an hour ago my daughter had crawled up next to me and sadly told me, “Charlie is at church.”
She didn’t ask me because I knew there would be no sleep without him. Quickly I ran the “rescue options” through my head and picked up the phone. Several minutes later we began our trek down the road between our house and the road behind our church. It wasn’t a long drive in daylight but seemed twice as long in the dark. The return trip even longer for it seemed darker somehow.
“Like our road of faith,” I thought, “the road is familiar because God has laid it out for us. In the daylight it goes more quickly because we can see more clearly. Every side road, every abandoned building, every welcoming home on the route, every pasture with cows, goats or mules, or every cornfield we don’t acknowledge these familiar sights but our minds know them, know the landmarks of our journey.”
A question bubbled up in my head, “If it’s the same road and the same God guiding you, why are you driving down it differently in the dark?”
I thought for a minute, asking God what I had asked myself. Then His voice spoke in my heart, “Because my Daughter in the darkness even the familiar must be traveled gently for you do not understand the Light when all you see is the dark.”
That reply simmered in my heart like the fog that had begun to swirl around before the car’s headlights. Was I driving differently? One look at the speedometer told me. Instead of the cruise set at the legal 60 miles per hour it was set at 50. The car was silent in the dark so I could hear every noise the car itself made on the road instead of my daughter’s children’s choir CD being turned up loud so we could “jam” on the drive. I was more aware of what I wasn’t seeing although in the daylight I didn’t really “see” the scenery either because it had become too familiar, too expected and its safety was something I’d taken for granted.
As the garage door slid back down the pieces of the picture slid into place for me. Sometimes I take my walk with God for granted, like I take the highway visions I see as I travel to and fro in my daily task of living. I am less alert to danger because I think I can see it sooner. I depend more on my sight than my hearing because the way is lighted so I can “jam” and not fear I will miss something. I’m not as alone during the daytime because there are more fellow travelers on the road with me and should the car break down help would be readily available and waiting would be less scary than the same scenario in the dark.
It was no different with my walk with God. Quietly I laid my head back against the head rest and whisper a prayer. First I say “thank you” because we were home safely and we both felt secure again. Second of acknowledgement that God and I needed a little time together to talk about my taking Him and our relationship for granted. Third, I need not have been any more fearful of the road in the night than in the daylight for God was with me every inch of the way. I just needed to be reminded of the true Light by a period of time in the darkness.
Do you ever take your relationship, even God Himself, for granted?
“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” John 1:5 (NIV)