Winding Roads and Center Lines

“I have loved you with an everlasting love…” Jeremiah 31:3

Rain began turning to snow as I drove the last miles before stopping for the night. In summer this was a scenic route through a canyon with tall trees lining the route on one side, a gurgling stream on the other. But in the inky blackness of this night, I could see nothing but the glare of oncoming headlights and the center line of the road just a few meters ahead of my car. Years of driving experience alerted me to the possible danger so I sat up straighter and positioned my hands correctly on the steering wheel for maximum control.

That center line became my guide for the nerve wracking miles ahead even though I could see it only as my headlights brought it into view. When I saw it begin to curve, I knew the wheels of the car needed to do the same. When it became a double line, I hoped no oncoming car would be passing into my lane.

Our personal journeys are much like the one I’ve described. Some of our days are like summer in that canyon with tall mountain trees spreading their green. Gurgling streams call us to walk their banks. Flowers peep out alongside forest trails. We scarcely need a center line to guide us through those days.

But other days will bring challenges—some we’ve faced before, others roaring into our lives like attacking lions. Where is the center line then? What is the center line then? How do we stay the course when hands-on-the-wheel—otherwise known as full control—is not only insufficient but impossible?

My experience has been that it is when the nights are dark, when the drenching rain of self-doubt seeks to drown the very life out of us that Christian community reaches its apex, becomes most like that provided by and experienced in Jesus. We need each other in the canyons of life.

Another essential for driving on the difficult roads is a working knowledge, increasing understanding and practice of biblical principles; the Spirit of God speaking through the Word of God sustains.

The single most important center line in my life when canyon walls seemed to imprison, when tears flowed with more intensity than the rain that night of driving, was one unprovable, impossible and undeniable fact: God loves me. I couldn’t explain it. I certainly didn’t deserve it. I desperately clung to it. And it brought me to safety. Many times the storm rumbled on, but in its eye was the “peace that passes understanding.”

All of us will experience dark times. In our sad world will be terrorism, hunger, poverty, epidemics and earthquakes. In the middle of those canyons, the love of God will provide strength for His followers to move forward, not just for guidance along personal paths but perhaps more importantly, for the power to drive into those dark places with healing words and actions for others.

My center line for staying the course? “I have loved you with an everlasting love…” (Jeremiah 31:3)

What is your center line? What has kept you on course while following Jesus?

Father, I don’t understand it, I frequently don’t believe it, there are days when I don’t experience it. But none of that changes the sure truth that you love me. Thank you.

By Marilyn Ehle
Used by Permission

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