The Road Most Scary

This is a re-post of a note I published November 23, 2014 on Facebook. I am transferring my notes from Facebook into my Float the River blog.

When my kids were little we used to camp along the Kern River in California. Some of our best memories as family were made at the Rivernook Campground just outside the town of Kernville. We swam, fished, and sat around the campfire. We watched our first episode of Johnny Bravo on one of those trips (I laughed so hard and Raine thought I was nuts!) and celebrated the Diamondbacks World Series run on another. There was a pretty little park in town and an ice cream shop nearby. The side channels of the river were covered with blackberry bushes that we would raid, leaving us covered in stickers and hands stained purple. Tatum was there. (I have to mention her by name because she always looks to see if I reference her in these).

It wasn’t always that way for me though. You see, the highway up to Kernville is an incredible winding road, a twisting, turning, up and down roller-coaster. On one side is a cliff face, on the other side down below is a raging river. It is the highway version of a nightmare. Especially for a 4 year old. In the dark. Waking up from a deep sleep, alone back in the camper and feeling like I was being tossed about on a raging ocean as my dad drove us up this very same canyon. It is my first memory of this place and I wanted to be anywhere but there.

My next memory of this same trip is playing in the river under the bridge, playing in the park, and seeing the little ice cream stand. The sun was now shining on this wonderfully magical place and there was no place I would rather have been. Suddenly the night, the fear, and the overwhelming sense of dread were gone, blotted out completely by the destination that horrific road had taken us to.

The last 8 months of my life have often felt eerily similar as that road. At times disaster seems to loom over us, each new turn threatening to send us careening over the edge. At other times the darkness of uncertainty and the unknown folds in around us, leaving us more than a little scared, completely blind to where we are heading, and each day needing to be reminded that every destination has a road that must be traveled, a journey that must be experienced.

Unmistakably throughout Scripture God doesn’t tell His children “where” exactly the destination is, all He tells us is that it is good, great, and glorious. Abraham was told to go without knowing where, Joseph was wisked off to Egypt armed with obscure dreams, the children of Israel left Egypt with only the promise of a wonderful land, God told Habakkuk that he wouldn’t believe what God was going to do even if He told him. The disciples were told only to follow, Paul was told he would suffer but encouraged his readers that no suffering could compare with the glory to come, and most importantly, Jesus endured the cross because of the joy set before Him. None of them had personally seen or experienced what the end would be or exactly how the road would go, but each went because that was what God had ordained for them.

As a child, I had no idea of our destination. Oh, I am sure I was told “where” but I had no context of experience or even pictures, all I saw was darkness. All I felt was fear. These last eight months we have been reminded that while the “where” is still completely unknown, the “what” is certain. What is certain is God’s goodness, His grace, His mercy, and His blessing, both on the way as well as at the destination. I know that with certainty. The road of faith, growth, and blessing is often a dark road filled with only the promise of getting “there”. All the while trusting that “there” is good, the road to get “there” is necessary, and resting upon the promise of His sustaining grace while on the journey. As Paul wrote in his second letter to Timothy, “…I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able…”

We will rest as with David the Psalmist when he wrote in Psalm 13:5-6, “But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.”

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