Monday, August 12, 2013

Life's Road Trip

Who loves road trips?!?!?

I do!

My husband likes to just get on his motorcycle and hit the open road. I like to have somewhat of a destination in mind but be flexible enough to stop on the way if something interesting catches my eye. When we travel together we have a nice blend of planning with room for flexibility.

(Yes, he took this picture while driving! Bad hubby!)

A couple years ago I posted pictures of the cotton fields we saw in Tennessee. That was one of my most favorite road-trip moments ever. Getting off the highway and traveling down this country road was a delight to my soul and spirit. Just around the bend of this road you see in the picture was a charming farmhouse. I had to fight a feeling of envy of the people who get to live in such a tranquil setting. I'm sure they work very hard to earn a living from these fields, though!

(Those old cotton fields back home...I wish Tenn was my home!)

While I love serendipity, I'm also the person who reads the end of the book first. Recent example, I did a Wiki search to find out what created the Dome in the new tv series..but I won't be a spoiler.

All that to illustrate - a journey completely full of unknowns is not for me!

Several  friends are currently experiencing some very major life changes. One said she just wish she knew how it was going to turn out. She knew it would all work out, but just wants to know NOW, how. I tried to encourage her with that pithy saying, "you know it's going to turn out alright, but life is about the journey."

It's so much easier to say that to someone than to live it.

Some missionary friends have experienced a really tough journey this past year. He wrote in a one of their newsletters that a friend had sent him a word of comfort from Psalm 23.
Eerie forest in the Smoky Mts.

Personally, when I think of  the 23rd Psalm, old western movies come to mind. There's usually a scene where the town preacherman, in that twangy, cowboy tone, presides over a funeral with these words "yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil ...."

So many pines killed by a parasite in the Smoky Mts.

So, yeah, Psalm 23 is not the first scripture to come to mind when my friends are hurting. 

But check it out in the Amplified version:
                                                                                                                                                A Psalm of David.
The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.
He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.
He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.
Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.
Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.

His friend went on to say - don't get so caught up in the battle that you miss the green pastures that God has placed along the way.
Whatever kind of journey you may be walking right now, remember three things from this psalm:
1. You will go through the valley. But God is walking through it with you, protecting (with the Shepherd's rod) and guiding your steps (with the Shepherd's staff).
(A field of dead trees along Rt 66)
 2. Not only is He walking beside you, but He's waiting for you at the end with a bounty of wonderful gifts. 
 (Beautiful park in Little Rock, AR)
3. I think this is one of the best lessons from Psalm 23 for this (sometimes scary) journey that is Life: God has put a variety of rest stops along the way; moments for you to enjoy. Don't miss out on the green pastures.

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