Forgive me if I’m wrong but this looks like more than I can do on my own.
Lyrics – Matthew West ‘Strong Enough’
There are times in our life when we meet faith head-on. I’m walking that path now. My gut says “hang on” but the tear ducts yell “run away”. It’s where all the things you’ve learned about yourself and the God you love to meet are at a crossroads of decision.
I know that I want to come through this having learned new levels of faith and strengthened muscles I probably didn’t know I had. I want to be ‘Strong Enough’ and not weak. One thing about crossroads is that they sometimes seem to be like a cloverleaf freeway on-ramp of possibilities. More than one decision faces you and the traffic seems heavy and fast. It’s at these times that you need focus and good visibility.
This last weekend I wanted to find a quiet place to ‘hear’ more clearly. It wasn’t about the soundproofing of the closet, it was about finding time for me and God to hang out and talk things through. Thanks to an understanding wife and children I was able to have Saturday to do just that. For me, the best place to think is a ‘drive’. So comes Saturday morning I woke with only the concept of heading out for the day with God, my steering wheel and a tar-sealed centre line.
Just before leaving home, I had the idea of going to a wonderful beach spot a couple of hours away from where 22 years ago my then-girlfriend and I went to seek God on the whole idea of marriage. We were deeply in love but we didn’t know if this should go to the biggest commitment of marriage. We drove to this beach and together as well as individually we sought God in prayer and through His Word for an answer. I think the greatest result of that day was the peace we received walking into our life together.
One of the things that set the tone for this day just past was checking my phone and seeing I had the entire Keith Green collection on it I set the playlist to ‘shuffle’ and let God drive the conversation through the music. The lyrics of the music brought me back to some home truths about my own commitment. Keith Green would have been the Lecrae of his time and it was just great to be back in sync with youthful passions through the music in the car. I remember at one point just asking the Lord to be with me in the car. I looked at the passenger seat beside me and saw that I had my shoulder bag and water bottle there. I felt they needed to be moved if Jesus was going to have a seat next to me so I took them off the seat. It was my way of inviting the Lord into that space beside me. I know this may sound slightly irreverent but for me, it then felt like I was on a road trip with Jesus. We were talking when we talked and listening to the Keith Green tracks as we went. Jesus, Me and Keith; it was quite a trip.
After a drive around the beach, taking photos of an aero-club meet and spending time overlooking the cliffs at an old Children’s Bible Camp I went to as a child, I then drove another hour to see my parents. My Dad was out so it was just Mum and me. Sometimes you need one on one time with someone close. Mum later said she found it a blessing that we were able to be together to talk and pray as just the two of us. Often my family and Dad are around and it was so it was just unique to have time with Mum. Her caring heart, wise counsel and spirit-led prayer were anchors in the day.
Although it was now late afternoon I didn’t feel it was time to go home so I set the GPS for a new destination on the opposite coast of New Zealand to Bethlehem, a small coastal town north of Tauranga. I knew some old friends were there but they didn’t answer their phones. I started the drive anyway as it is an enjoyable scenic drive. On arrival, I felt to contact these old Youth Group Leaders and after a couple of calls connected with them via mobile. While they were an hour away from the direction I’d just come, they encouraged me to go to their house where they told me how to enter and make myself at home. This was a blessing as I had an hour of total quiet to sit, pray and read. Here I demolished Philippians and was saturated with encouragement from Paul’s letter.
When my friends arrived I was falling asleep. Thankfully their smiles and conversation reignited the coals of my energy level and we spoke for about three hours. God speaking through friends who let go of their agenda and display God’s is powerful. They didn’t tell me what to do, they shared with me God’s heart for me, my future and my family. One of the best pieces of advice that were dropped into that conversation was to think about the attributes of God and His character. It was a drop of refreshing salve on the parched skin.
My drive home was a great time to finish the day singing in the car just out of a heart of gratitude for every aspect of the day. It was just before 1 am when I walked through the door to a much-needed bed.
The crossroad is still before me but I’m not driving alone. The words of Matthew West’s song ‘Strong Enough’ emphasise that journey.